The 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend marks the third time the St. Louis Blues have hosted the event since entering the NHL in 1967, but the first at Enterprise Center. The 1970 and 1988 All-Star Games were played at St. Louis Arena, the home of the Blues until they moved into the building now known as Enterprise Center for the 1994-95 season.
The Blues are the first team to host the All-Star Game as defending Stanley Cup champion since the 1989 Edmonton Oilers, who won the Cup in 1988.
St. Louis was also the first expansion team to host an NHL All-Star Game. A total of 20 future Hockey Hall of Famers took part in the East Division's 4-1 win against the West, although Blues goalie Jacques Plante didn't allow a goal after entering the game midway through the second period. One of the goals by the East was scored by Gordie Howe; it was his 10th and final goal in All-Star play.
The 1988 NHL All-Star Game featured a record-setting performance by Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had six points (three goals, three assists), including the game-winner in overtime that gave the Prince of Wales Conference a 6-5 win against the Clarence Campbell Conference. Lemieux broke the All-Star Game record for most points (four), previously held by six players. Montreal Canadiens forward Mats Naslund had an All Star Game-record five assists, including one on each of Lemieux's three goals.
Pacific, Metropolitan Divisions dominate 3-on-3 format
The Pacific Division and Metropolitan Division have split the four All-Star Game tournaments since the 3-on-3 format was adopted for the 2016 game. The Pacific Division won in 2016 (at Nashville) and 2018 (at Tampa Bay), and the Metropolitan Division won in 2017 (at Los Angeles) and 2019 (at San Jose).
The Pacific Division has the most games played (seven), most wins (five) and best win percentage (.714, 5-2), followed by the Metropolitan (.667, 4-2-0), Atlantic (.333, 2-4-0) and Central (.200, 1-4-0).
Two players who have appeared in the four previous All-Star Games under the 3-on-3 format will participate this year: Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.
Three of the four championship teams since the introduction of the 3-on-3 format have skated in the second of the two semifinal games prior to the final. The only winner that competed in the first semifinal was the Pacific Division in 2018 at Tampa Bay. This year, the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions play in the first semifinal (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC. SN, TVAS), followed by the Central taking on the Pacific in the second semifinal, with the winners playing in the final.
One divisional matchup has yet to take place: The Central Division has never played the Atlantic Division.
Offenses dominate in 3-on-3 games
The average number of goals scored in the 12 games played under the 3-on-3 All-Star format is 10.3. The average for the eight semifinal games is 11.8; in the final, it's 7.5.
There has been one shutout in the 12 games played under the 3-on-3 format. The Pacific Division won the 2016 tournament at Nashville by defeating the Atlantic Division 1-0 in the championship game. Two goalies from Southern California rivals combined for the shutout: Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings made 10 saves in the first 10-minute period, and John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks made seven in the second.
However, goalies have a cumulative 15.17 goals-against average and .744 save percentage (346 saves on 465 shots) in the four years the 3-on-3 format has been used. Six goalies, including Quick and Gibson, did not allow a goal during their 10-minute stints. The others: Roberto Luongo in 2016 (12 saves for the Atlantic), Holtby in 2017 (five saves for the Metropolitan), Pekka Rinne in 2018 (four saves for the Central) and Henrik Lundqvist in 2019 (six saves for the Metropolitan).
Seven goalies have been credited with an assist in the 12 games played under the 3-on-3 format; Gibson (2016 and 2019) is the only one with two assists. The others: Cory Schneider (Metropolitan, 2016), Ben Bishop (Atlantic, 2016), Rinne (Central, 2016), Martin Jones (Pacific, 2017), Carey Price (Atlantic, 2018) and Mike Smith (Pacific, 2018).
No one has ever scored on a penalty shot in an All-Star Game, under any format. Shooters are 0-for-3, with Seth Jones (Metropolitan) failing to score against Devan Dubnyk (Central) last year. The others: Matt Duchene against Lundqvist in 2011 (at Carolina) and Steven Stamkos against Jimmy Howard in 2012 (at Ottawa).
All-Star Game history
The first official NHL All-Star Game was held in 1947. But the concept of pitting the League's elite against each other was used in three previous games staged to benefit the families of former NHL stars Ace Bailey (1934), Howie Morenz (1937) and Babe Siebert (1939).
The initial NHL All-Star Game, held at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, matched the defending Stanley Cup champion Maple Leafs against the NHL All-Stars. The All-Stars came from two goals down to win 4-3.
The 1967 NHL All-Star Game marked the first time it was played midseason, rather than prior to the start of the regular schedule. With the 1965-66 season's game played in October 1965, there was no All-Star Game during the 1966 calendar year.
Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins was the last defenseman to capture All-Star Game MVP honors. He did it front of his home fans at Fleet Center (now TD Garden) in 1996 after scoring the winning goal at 19:22 of the third period to give the Eastern Conference a 5-4 win against the Western Conference.
Singing the Blues
St. Louis has four representatives on the Central Division team -- goalie Jordan Binnington, center Ryan O'Reilly, forward David Perron and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Their coach, Craig Berube, will be behind the bench. Players on the Central Division roster own a total of nine Stanley Cup rings, the most among any of the four teams.
In addition to one each for the four Blues players, Patrick Kane (2010, 2013 and 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks), Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars (2011 with the Boston Bruins) and Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild (2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes) have won Stanley Cup championships.
Odds and ends
Defenseman Quinn Hughes will represent the Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division lineup. It's the third straight year a Vancouver rookie has played in the game; Hughes joins Brock Boeser (2018) and Elias Pettersson (2019). It's the first time in the expansion era (since 1967-68) and third time in All-Star Game history a team has been represented by a rookie in three consecutive seasons.
Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk and Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk will be the first brothers to compete in the same All-Star Game since Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin represented the Canucks in 2012. Should Matthew (Pacific) meet Brady (Atlantic) in the final, they would become the fifth set of brothers in the past 40 years to face each other, joining the Sedins (2011), Derian and Kevin Hatcher (1997), Brian and Joe Mullen (1989), and Brent and Brian Sutter (1985).