ASG Pastrnak Draisaitl

TORONTO -- David Pastrnak was friends with Leon Draisaitl prior to the two becoming stars in the NHL, but it wasn’t until the 2024 Honda (U.S.)/Rogers (Canada) NHL All-Star Game that the two were able to play together.

Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins and Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers were members of Team McDavid, which made it to the final before losing 7-4 to Team Matthews. Team McDavid defeated Team MacKinnon 4-3 in the shootout in the opening game of the 3-on-3 event to make it to the final.

“We skated together a bunch of times, I don’t think he comes to the Czech as often anymore, but he would come every summer,” Pastrnak said. “When we were signing our (NHL) contracts, I remember that summer we spent a lot of time together because he was there quite a bit in Czech, so we’re close friends and it was fun to finally play with him.”

Pastrnak, 27, a native of Havirov, Czech Republic, was selected by Boston in the first round (No. 25) of the 2014 NHL Draft. Draisaitl, 27, of Cologne, Germany, was selected No. 3 by Edmonton in the same draft. The two played on a line with Connor McDavid for the majority of the All-Star Game.

“I enjoyed it. He’s a great guy. Obviously, we are very similar, and it was finally nice to see him around the locker room a little bit more and play with him on a line,” Pastrnak said. “I definitely enjoyed it, and I told him I wish he would come to Prague more often so we can train and skate together.”

McDavid and Pastrnak each had a goal and an assist, and Draisaitl had two assists in the win against Team MacKinnon. Team McDavid was down 3-1 with under a minute left in the game, but Pastrnak scored to make it 3-2 it with 32 seconds remaining, and McDavid tied it with six seconds left to send the game into a shootout.

McDavid and Pastrnak scored in the shootout to advance to the final against Team Matthews. Pastrnak scored against Bruins teammate Jeremy Swayman in regulation, and then again in the shootout.

“I wanted to score on him so bad. I was going to try everything I can to score,” Pastrnak said. “I had a breakaway and I was hoping ‘Sid’ (Sidney Crosby) was going to let me go, but he kind of backchecked me and I was not ready for it, so I ran out of space and [Swayman got me on that one. I was a little worried that was it, that was my chance, but I got him on the high glove. I don’t know if he let me score that, but he knows I shoot there in practice. I haven’t talked to him about it, but it seemed way too easy. It seemed too open for ‘Sway’ on that shot.”

In the final, Pastrnak had a goal and an assist, Draisaitl had a goal and two assists, and McDavid had an assist. Team McDavid gave up four goals in the second period after finishing the first period tied 3-3.

“Our team went the defensive route, and our defensive system broke down a little bit,” McDavid joked. “We hung our goalies out to dry and they got some good players over there that made us play. I thought the guys were trying the whole time, that’s what it felt like for me. I thought it was competitive and I thought it was a good showing from everybody. It was great.”

McDavid and Draisaitl, along with celebrity captain, actor Will Arnett, selected the players Thursday in the Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Player Draft. Winnipeg Jets Goalie Connor Hellebuyck was their first pick before Pastrnak was the selected second for the team.

“I don’t think it’s the drafting. I thought we drafted really well, it was just really unlikely, really bad bounces,” joked Draisaitl. “No, it was good, it was fun. It’s a fun weekend to be around, meet some new guys and get to know them a little bit off the ice on a more person level. It’s fun doing with [McDavid] together. It was fun.”

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