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Canadiens D Komisarek takes only All-Star penalty

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MONTREAL (AP) -Montreal Canadiens captain Mike Komisarek was whistled Sunday night for the first All-Star game penalty since 2000.

It was the only penalty during the Eastern Conference's 12-11 shootout victory over the West, and it came 2:22 into overtime when Komisarek hooked Anaheim forward Ryan Getzlaf. The East killed off the infraction that created 4-on-3 play in the second-highest scoring game in All-Star history.

"You know it's overtime, it's 4-on-3, and it's an All-Star game, the last thing I expect is a penalty to be called," Komisarek said. "But I joked around with the ref there afterward and told him, 'It's a great call. Don't worry about it.' You know, he felt bad about it, too. I had full faith in my penalty kill unit out there."

Sandis Ozolinsh of the World team was the last player sent to the penalty box during an All-Star game. He, too, was called for hooking in a 9-4 victory over the North American team nine years ago. That one came at 5:51 of the third period and started a stretch of 441 minutes, 31 seconds of All-Star play between penalties.

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LIGHTING THE LAMP: Of the 36 total skaters in the game, 28 had at least one point. Defensemen Stephane Robidas and Shea Weber were the only Western Conference players kept off the score sheet.

Even Jarome Iginla finally snapped his All-Star drought, when he scored a second-period goal. The Calgary captain hadn't scored a goal in his previous four All-Star appearances. He made this one count as he pushed the West into an 8-8 tie.

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BACK-TO-BACK WINS: A year ago, Boston goalie Tim Thomas was a last-minute replacement for New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

He made the most of the chance and earned the win when Bruins teammate Marc Savard scored the tiebreaking goal in the final minute of the game.

Thomas made it back this year, earning a spot from the start for his work in helping the Bruins to the Eastern Conference's top record.

He started the third period, when the game was tied 8-8, and stopped 19 of 22 shots. Thomas did his best work after regulation when he helped kill off the game's only power play, and then turned aside Shane Doan and Rick Nash in a perfect shootout.

Thomas joined Frank Brimsek (1947-48), Jacques Plante (1958-59), Johnny Bower (1961-62), and Brodeur (1997-98) as the only goalies to post consecutive All-Star wins.

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LINEUP CHANGE: Vincent Lecavalier's wild weekend back home in Montreal took another positive turn Sunday night when he was added to the Eastern Conference starting lineup, replacing Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby.

The Tampa Bay Lightning center has garnered tons of attention since he arrived Thursday and was greeted at the airport by enthusiastic fans who hope that Lecavalier might soon make Montreal his home again.

Recent rumors have suggested that Lecavalier could be dealt to the Canadiens before the March 4 deadline, and the Bell Centre crowd lauded him with the loudest ovation Saturday night during introductions for the All-Star skills competition.

Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur, who forged Hockey Hall of Fame careers with the Canadiens, believe that Lecavalier would easily handle the stress of playing in Montreal should a trade occur.

"I always thought that the pressure was part of the professional athlete," Beliveau said Sunday, a few hours before the All-Star game.

Lafleur took it even further.

"He's got some pressure playing for Tampa. He still has pressure there to produce and perform," Lafleur said. "Playing in Montreal, I don't think it would be any change except the public would be behind him and it would improve the quality of the game from the Montreal Canadiens."

Lecavalier, an All-Star starter for the second straight year, finished 14th in voting among Eastern Conference forwards this time after placing second for the 2008 game in Atlanta. Had he already been traded to the hometown Canadiens, his candidacy could have been greatly enhanced as three Montreal forwards earned more votes.

Crosby was forced to drop out of the game for the second consecutive season, this time due to a knee injury.

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STARS AND STRIPES: The Montreal neighborhood of Verdun produced NHL referee Marc Joannette and linesman Pierre Racicot, who were picked as part of the four-man officiating crew for the All-Star game.

Racicot and Joannette grew up a block away from each other in Verdun, which is about a 10-minute drive from the Bell Centre.

The two have worked more than 1,500 combined NHL regular-season games - 1,005 for Racicot and 551 for Joannette.

They were joined in the All-Star game by referee Brad Meier, from Dayton, Ohio, and linesman Greg Devorski, who hails from Ontario.

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BY THE NUMBERS: Of the 42 All-Star players, 15 made their debuts in the midseason classic - including eight for the Western Conference.

The oldest player in the 57th edition of the game was 38-year-old Dallas Stars forward Mike Modano, who also was an All-Star back in 1993, the previous time Montreal served as host. Patrick Kane, the reigning NHL rookie of the year, was the youngest All-Star this time at 20.

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