Just one night after being crowned champion in the Elimination Shootout contest, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos admitted he was exhausted following Sunday's 2012 NHL All-Star finale at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
With good reason too.
The Bolts center had an assist and also recorded three shots in nearly 15 minutes of ice time as he and Team Alfredsson fell 12-9 to Team Chara in what proved to be a back-and-forth scoring duel at the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.
“I just don’t think I had anything left,” Stamkos said. “It’s been a fun week, a busy week, and I guess I just ran out of gas here today.”
Hometown favorite Daniel Alfredsson scored two goals and added an assist. He even stayed on the ice during an extended shift to try and complete the hat trick, but Team Chara goaltender Tim Thomas had none of it.
Thomas made 18 saves and was the winning goaltender in the All-Star Game for the fourth consecutive time.
Marian Gaborik led all skaters with three goals and four points. He scored twice and Evgeni Malkin also added a goal in the first 10 minutes to put Team Chara out to a 3-0 lead.
Team Alfredsson then came back, scoring three times unanswered on goals by Jason Spezza, Henrik Sedin and John Tavares.
Stamkos had a shot to give Team Alfredsson its first lead of the game after he was taken down by Dion Phaneuf, which awarded the Lightning forward just the second penalty shot in the history of the NHL All-Star Game. Stamkos skated down the ice and tried the same spin-o-rama move that seemed to work just the night before at the Skills Competition, but couldn’t fool Detroit Red Wings net minder Jimmy Howard.
“Tripped him?” Phaneuf said. “Oh come on, he stepped on my stick and fell,” he joked.
Gaborik completed his hat trick early in the second period to pull Team Chara back ahead, and Joffrey Lupul recorded his first career NHL All-Star Game goal to make it 5-3 with the majority of the frame still left to go.
Much like in the first period, Team Alfredsson made sure the opponent’s lead didn’t last.
Alfredsson scored twice in succession after teammate Jason Pominville found the back of the net at 7:17 of the second to make it 6-5, giving his side its first lead of the contest.
Just before the second horn sounded though, Patrick Kane squared things back up again, tying the game at 6-6 heading into the final 20 minutes.
The final period saw a barrage of scoring that featured nine different goal scorers in the stanza, although Lupul added his second goal of the game to cap the scoring at 15:33.
The two sides alternated four consecutive goals to start the third, with Team Chara’s Phil Kessel trading tallies with Team Alfredsson’s Milan Michalek, and Kessel's teammate Jarome Iginla exchanging goals with Claude Giroux.
Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara and Corey Perry then put the game away, scoring three unanswered times in a span of 1:22, to bring the score to 11-8.
Each team would add one more for their respective side before the night was over, making for a memorable event that was special for both the players themselves and fans alike.
“It was a great time,” Stamkos added. “It was an honor to play with so many great players and it’s something that I’ll always remember.”