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McDavid, Ovechkin, Matthews, MacKinnon voted NHL All-Star captains

Topped fan balloting in respective divisions for Jan. 26 game at San Jose

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid will captain the Pacific Division for the third straight year at the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center in San Jose on Jan. 26 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

McDavid will be joined by Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin of the Metropolitan Division, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews of the Atlantic Division and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon of the Central Division. The captains for each division were chosen through the 2019 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by adidas.

"That it's fan voted, it means a lot," McDavid said. "I'm very lucky to have the support that I do from fans, not only in Edmonton but around the League. It definitely means a lot." 

McDavid, 21, is fourth in the NHL with 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists) in 35 games. He had two assists in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 13 to give him 300 points, making him the ninth player in NHL history to reach that milestone before his 22nd birthday. He also reached 300 points in his 240th NHL game, making him the fifth player since 1998-99 to reach 300 in 250 games or fewer, joining Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (219), Ovechkin (237), Mighty Ducks of Anaheim forward Paul Kariya (238) and Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin (240). McDavid has led the NHL in scoring the past two seasons, and also has won the Ted Lindsay Award as the League's best player as voted by fellow players the past two seasons.

This will be the eighth All-Star Game for Ovechkin, 33. It's the second straight year, and the third time in four years, that he was voted captain of the Metropolitan Division. Ovechkin leads the League with 29 goals, and is one away from joining Mike Gartner as the only players to start their NHL careers with 14 straight 30-goal seasons. Ovechkin led all players in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 15 goals, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the postseason and helped the Capitals win their first championship since entering the NHL in 1974. He's 15th all-time with 636 goals.

"To still have respect from the fans is a very important thing," Ovechkin said. "… I'm kind of the old horse over there, but still getting recognized by the fans, so it's very important."

Video: Alex Ovechkin Voted Metro All-Star Captain

Matthews will play in the All-Star Game for the third time in as many seasons since entering the NHL with the Maple Leafs in 2016-17. The 21-year-old center has 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) in 23 games. He missed 14 games in November because of an injury to his left shoulder but has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 12 games since returning Nov. 28. His 93 goals since the start of the 2016-17 season are fourth among all players; however, he has played 167 games, at least 24 fewer than the three players ahead of him: Ovechkin with 111 goals in 199 games; Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine, 103 goals in 191 games; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, 95 goals in 191 games.

"Absolutely it's a big honor," Matthews said. "With the way it's set up obviously a lot of very deserving guys won't be able to go but to be selected to compete in the All- Star Game, it's a huge honor, and to be a captain of a division, it's pretty special. With all the people and fans that vote for myself and other guys, I think everybody really feels pretty good about that, just the fanbase we have and how passionate these people are about us, it's a special honor."

MacKinnon, 23 will play in his third straight All-Star Game. He's third in the NHL with 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists), three behind NHL leader and Avalanche linemate Mikko Rantanen. MacKinnon finished second to New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall in voting for the Hart Trophy last season after he had 97 points (39 goals, 58 assists) in 74 games.

"It's cool for sure," MacKinnon said. "It's nice to have the support from the fans. It's obviously pretty cool. … [Earlier in his career], I feel like I didn't belong with those group of players, some of the best players in the world. I didn't feel like I belonged in that group. Now I do."

The remaining players for the four All-Star rosters teams will be chosen by the NHL Hockey Operations Department.

The coach of the team with the highest points percentage in each division at the halfway point of the regular season will coach their division's All-Star team.

The 2019 NHL All-Star Skills competition will take place at SAP Center on Jan. 25 (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS), one day before the game.

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