ST. LOUIS -- Nico Hischier sees a lot of Travis Konecny during the season, but those encounters never generate the smiles he was flashing at the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center on Saturday.
Hischier, the New Jersey Devils center, had two goals and one assist for the Metropolitan Division in its 9-5 loss to the Atlantic Division in the first semifinal. The Atlantic Division lost to the Pacific Divison 5-4 in the final.
Konecny, a forward for the rival Philadelphia Flyers, assisted on each of Hischier's goals.
"It was just the whole experience; being here and being able to know and meet these players that you just know from playing against them," Hischier said of what he would take from the game and the weekend. "It's just been a great couple of days. I really enjoyed it."
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Hischier found instant chemistry with his rival Konecny.
"I think it's easy to play with anybody out there; it's all great players and they see where you are and are trying to get you the puck or if you give them the puck, it is coming back to you," Hischier said.
On his first goal at 3:38 of the first period, Hischier held onto the puck for close to five seconds, skating from one face-off circle to the blue line on the opposite side of the ice before deking Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber and driving the net, scoring against Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby with a tuck shot before Ottawa Senators forward Anthony Duclair could make the poke check.
"I was trying to find somebody to pass to," Hischier said, laughing.
Video: MET@ATL: Hischier slips puck through five-hole
On his second goal, at 2:50 of the second period, Hischier received a nice breakout pass from Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones to start a 2-on-1 break. He passed the puck to Konecny but got it right back and was able to score easily before Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy could get back to the far post.
"We had a lot of fun together," Konecny said. "We were talking before the game; we were nervous and weren't sure how the game is supposed to go with the effort level, but we had a lot of fun."
Hischier's second goal gave the Metropolitan Division a 5-4 lead, but the Atlantic scored five straight to win and advance to the championship game against the Pacific Division, which defeated the Central Division 10-5 in the other semifinal.
The chemistry and the effort put forth by Konecny, Jones and Hischier was not lost on the other Metropolitan players.
"Yeah, they were running pretty hot," said Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin. "[Hischier] had a couple nice goals. I mean, Jones is obviously a great defenseman [with] offensive ability and then Konecny is having a heck of a year and so when you put those three together and you can see there's chemistry there and you see the results."
Video: MET@ATL: Hischier pots Konecny's feed for second goal
Hischier said he hopes to carry his performance on Saturday into a stronger second half with the Devils. He has 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 43 regular-season games, second on New Jersey to Kyle Palmieri, who has 31 points. Hischier was an injury replacement in the All-Star Game for Palmieri (lower-body injury).
"It's an honor to be able to play in the All-Star Game, and it doesn't matter how it happened," Hischier said. "You still know you're doing something right. It gives you confidence, for sure. And for me, like I said, I came here with not much expectations just to go have fun and do a good job.
"Now, I'm looking forward to go back to Jersey and give my best to help the team win games."