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All-Star

Justin Bieber gets goal, assist ... rude awakening

Pop star sparks Team Gretzky to victory in NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout after taking big hit from Chris Pronger

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Team Lemieux's defense checked him, badgered him and even bearhugged him, but pop music star Justin Bieber and Team Gretzky prevailed in the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout.

Bieber had a goal and an assist to help Team Gretzky to a 5-3 victory in the friendly matchup of NHL legends and celebrities at Staples Center on Saturday.

No player had more scoring opportunities than Bieber. He was stopped on two penalty shots by former NHL goalie Jamie Storr but finally broke through with an empty-net goal with three seconds remaining.

Bieber's chief tormentor was Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Pronger.

"I'm trying not to get suspended," Pronger said when he returned to the bench after checking Bieber hard into the boards in the second half.

Asked about the defensive attention he gave Bieber and whether any words were exchanged, Pronger said, "He just had a few complimentaries out there but he was having fun with it.

Video: Celebrity Game: Pronger lays a hit on Justin Bieber

"I think everybody was excited for the event and trying to have fun out there. We were trying to shut guys down and play tough against guys. You don't want anybody to get hurt out there or to do anything too crazy. We were trying to have fun and make it entertaining."

Bieber seemed to know what was coming. He cheered and saluted Pronger's introduction from the opposite blue line.

Team Lemieux dressed a Hockey Hall of Fame defense, including Larry Robinson, Ray Bourque, Scott Niedermayer, Pronger and Angela Ruggiero, but had its hands full with Team Gretzky.

"We've got to stop turning the puck over," Pronger said, laughing when he came to the bench after a shift.

And later, after Pronger fell easily after being checked during a breakout, he said, "That used to work," as he came to the bench.

Fun was the order of the day.

Video: Celebrity Shootout Game highlights and chatter

During interviews, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. said to coach Wayne Gretzky, "Talk about Cuba Gooding Jr.'s game-winning goal."

The NHL's all-time leading scorer, who was named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian on Friday, laughed heartily.

"What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room," Gretzky said. "Listen, there were a lot of great players that weren't great skaters who could score goals, and he just got a big goal. Good for him. Go to the net."

During the second half Gretzky called for television and movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer's line to get into the game, but when he yelled "Jerry, you're up," Bruckheimer jumped up with a disheveled start, cracking up the bench.

When Hall of Famer Peter Stastny missed a great scoring chance for Team Lemieux during the second half, fellow Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne said to his teammates, "It's the arms that go first."

With Team Lemieux trailing by a goal with three minutes remaining, Bourque turned to coach Mario Lemieux and yelled, "Hey Mario, are you going to start coaching?"

Video: Celebrity Game: Bieber scores empty-net goal

Team Lemieux assistant coach Alyssa Milano, who took numerous selfies with NHL legends and celebrities, tried to be encouraging.

"Come on guys," she yelled out, then paused before adding, "and girl," breaking into a big smile as Ruggiero turned her head. Coach and player then exchanged a fist bump.

The players wore a patch on the right front shoulder honoring passionate hockey fan and Hollywood performer Alan Thicke, who died Dec. 13.

The All-Star Celebrity Shootout benefitted Echoes of Hope, a nonprofit organization founded by Luc Robitaille and his wife Stacia, which strives to inspire at-risk and emancipated foster youth.

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