By: Chad Lynch
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Eastern Conference - Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres)
Western Conference - Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks)
On Wednesday night, Phoenix Coyotes' All-Star Yanic Perreault scored a pair of goals to help lead the Western Conference to a 12-9 win in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.
In a rarity for NHL All-Star Games, the Eastern and Western Conference went nearly four minutes before making the first mark on the scoreboard. When the goal did come, it was the Eastern Conference who would take the first lead when Buffalo Sabres' forward Daniel Briere took a pass from Ottawa's Dany Heatley at the right side of the net and slammed the puck past goaltender Roberto Luongo for a 1-0 lead.
Seconds after the goal by Briere, Luongo rebounded to make a good save on Washington Capitals' sniper Alexander Ovechkin.
The Western Conference would tie the game at 1-1 at 5:08 of the opening period when Phoenix Coyotes forward Yanic Perreault tipped a pass from Brian Rolston at the top of the crease, past Sabres' netminder Ryan Miller and into the net. The goal was Perreault's first career point in an NHL All-Star game.
"It was nice to get one early," said Perreault. "I felt like the line I was on with Brian Rolston and Bill Guerin played real well together and had good chemistry."
Just over a minute later the West would take their first lead on a goal by Anaheim's Teemu Selanne. On the play, Selanne entered the zone on a two-on-one rush with Edmonton's Ryan Smyth, and backed Miller into his own crease before lifting a shot into the top of the net for a 2-1 lead.
Following a scoreless stretch of nearly six-minutes, which featured a series of big saves at both ends of the ice, the East would tie the game on a big goal from one of the club's smallest players. Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis tied the score at 2-2 when he one-timed a feed from fellow teammate Vincent Lecavalier, past the outstretched glove of Luongo and into the West net.
Less than a minute later, the Eastern Conference would re-take the lead when Carolina's Eric Stall recorded his second career All-Star game goal by tipping a puck at the top of the crease, through the legs of Luongo to make it a 3-2 game.
Not wanting to be outdone by the East, the Western Conference charged back and tied the game at 18:55 of the first; as Los Angeles All-Star Lubomir Visnovsky took a pass from the point and jammed the puck past Miller for his first career All-Star goal.
Neither club would be able to regain the lead over the final 65-seconds of the first, sending the two conferences to the locker room after 20-minutes of play, tied at 3-3.
The second period began with a change in both goals as New Jersey's Martin Brodeur replaced Ryan Miller and Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff took over for Roberto Luongo.
Early in the second, the Western Conference watched as the San Jose trio of Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau attacked the Eastern Conference net, trying to give the Western Conference back the lead.
At 2:41 of the period, they would do just that when Cheechoo's blast from the left side was stopped by Brodeur, but the rebound popped out into the slot when Marleau was able to flip the puck past a diving Brodeur for a 4-3 lead.
Carolina's Justin Williams tied the game with his second point the night when he whipped a wrist shot from the right side of the net on a feed from Jason Blake, that found a way past Kiprusoff on the strong side to even the game at 4-4.
Just over a minute later, the Eastern Conference took a 5-4 lead when Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara carried the puck into towards the net and backhanded a shot past the glove of Kiprusoff for his first point of the night.
While Brodeur was able to catch his breath for a moment, but the West would come right back and tie the game at 8:30 of the stanza when Minnesota's Brian Rolston wound up and hammered a slap shot that knocked the microphone off Brodeur before passing into the net.
Columbus' Rick Nash put the West back in the driver's seat at 10:40 of the period when he drove hard to the net from the right side of the ice, cut back across his left and slid the puck around Brodeur and into the net for his first career All-Star game goal.
Less than a minute later, Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat made it a 7-5 game when his shot from the left side of the goal, found the back of the net. Rick Nash and Colorado's Joe Sakic both recorded assists on Havlat's goal.
At 12:27 of the second, Coyotes All-Star Yanic Perreault proved why he was chosen to play for the Western Conference when he scored his second goal of the game to give the West an 8-5 lead. The play was almost a mirror of Perreault's first goal of the game as his again tipped a pass (this time from the right side) through the legs of Brodeur and into the East net.
Alexander Ovechkin would bring the East back to within two at 13:32 of the second when his shot snuck in behind Kiprusoff and over the goal line for the first of what will certainly be many All-Star goal in his career.
It appeared the East may escape the final minute of the period without allowing the West to recapture a three-goal lead, but Brian Rolston crushed those hopes when he took a pass from Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski and rifled a shot from the right side that deflected off an Eastern Conference defenseman's stick and past Brodeur to make it a 9-6 game after two periods of play.
Just as they did at the start of the second period, the team's switched goaltenders with Montreal's Cristobal Huet taking over for the East and Dallas Stars' netminder Matry Turco assuming the goaltending duties for the West.
Senator's forward Dany Heatley made it a 9-7 game, two minutes into the third period when he snapped a shot from the slot that beat Turco on the glove side for his fifth career All-Star goal.
After giving up the goal to Heatley, Turco turned in a pair of brilliant stops including a tremendous glove save on a blast from Montreal's Sheldon Souray.
The Western Conference proved that whatever their counterparts from the East could do, they could do just as well if not better as Rick Nash scored his second goal of the game at 7:12 of the third. Avalanche forward Joe Sakic recorded his fourth assists of the night on Rash's third period tally.
Eastern Conference defenseman Zdeno Chara grabbed his second goal of the night at 10:37 of the period when he tipped a cross-ice feed from Marian Hossa, past Turco to make it a 10-8 game.
The final minute of action would see three goals, started by the Western Conference when Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski, sent a pass to Oiler forward Ryan Smyth behind the goal line, who then fed a pass to Martin Havlat at the front of the net. Havlat calmly pulled the puck to his backhand and lifted a shot over Huet for an 11-8 lead.
Only 26-seconds later, the East made it a 11-9 game on the strength of Sheldon Souray's slap shot from the right face-off circle that hit a stick in front of Turco and deflected into the net.
The Eastern Conference tried to keep the offensive rhythm going when they pulled Huet from the net in favor of an extra attacker, but the West would take advantage of the open goal when Calgary's Dion Phaneuf blasted the puck from behind his own net, around the boards and down the ice where it would eventually roll into the Eastern Conference net, putting the West back on top by three.
The last 11-seconds of the game would fail to produce another goal and the Western Conference was able to hold on for a 12-9 win.
Following the game, Coyotes center Yanic Perreault shared his thoughts on the playing in his first All-Star contest.
"The game was a little more intense than I think it used to be," said Perreault. "Everyone out there wants to win. They all want to have a good time, but they want to win."
Perreault showed no signs of being nervous during Wednesday's game, something he attributes, in part, to spending the week with a familiar face; defenseman Ed Jovanovski.
"He was used to (all of) it, but I wasn't and it was great to have him there with me all week," said Perreault on sharing the experience with Jovanovski.