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Reigning MVP Ovechkin tops East All-Star roster

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NEW YORK (AP) -Alex Ovechkin finally got his All-Star invitation.

Less than a week after Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau called Ovechkin's omission from the Eastern Conference's starting lineup "dumb," the reigning NHL MVP was among 15 players picked Thursday to fill out the roster for the All-Star game on Jan. 25 in Montreal.

Boudreau probably won't be too happy that his Southeast Division-leading club, second in the East with 67 points (27-11-3), will be represented by only Ovechkin.

The starting lineup, determined by fan balloting online and via text messaging, placed four members of the host Montreal Canadiens and two from the Pittsburgh Penguins onto the team. Every team also must be represented in the game, leaving little room for multiple picks from clubs.

However, the rebuilt Boston Bruins (29-7-4) - the owners of the second best record in the NHL behind San Jose - had three players chosen by the NHL's hockey operations department, after consultation with general managers.

The Bruins, off to their best start since the 1929-30 season, were rewarded with the selections of goalie Tim Thomas, defenseman Zdeno Chara and center Marc Savard. In last year's 8-7 victory by the East in Atlanta, Savard scored the winning goal in the final minute, Thomas stopped 14 of 18 shots in the third period, and Chara had an assist and a plus-3 rating.

Joining Savard on the forward lines are first-time All-Stars Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia's Jeff Carter. Ovechkin, Vanek and Carter entered play Thursday in a three-way tie with an NHL-leading 27 goals.

Other first-timers picked Thursday include goalie Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist, defenseman Mark Streit of the New York Islanders and forward Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils.

Streit is in his first season with the Islanders after spending his first three seasons in the NHL with Montreal.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier, chosen as an All-Star for the fourth time, was born and raised in nearby Ile-Bizard, Quebec, and wears No. 4 in honor of Canadiens Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau - a player he portrayed in the 2005 movie, "The Rocket."

Ottawa Senators left winger Dany Heatley and Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal, both previous All-Star MVP winners, will be making return trips. Staal took the honors last year with three points, including an assist on Savard's winning goal. Heatley tied an All-Star game record with four goals in the East's 6-5 loss in 2003.

Rounding out the forwards is Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk, a third-time All-Star.

On defense, Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs will be making his fourth All-Star appearance, and Florida's Jay Bouwmeester will take part in his second game.

The starting lineup, announced last weekend, consists of forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins, and goalie Carey Price, defensemen Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek, and forward Alex Kovalev of the Canadiens.

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