Captain Sidney Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang have been chosen to represent the Penguins in the 2018 NHL All-Star Game.
For the third-straight year, the All-Star Game will be a 3-on-3 tournament, held on Sunday, January 28 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The tournament will begin at 3:30 PM and it will be nationally televised on NBC. The 2018 NHL All-Star Skills Competition will be Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 PM, and it will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Crosby was selected to play in his seventh All-Star Game, and Letang his fourth. Among Penguins players, only Mario Lemieux (13 selections) and Jaromir Jagr (9) have been elected to the All-Star Game more often than Crosby. Hall of Fame blueliner Paul Coffey (5 selections) is the only defenseman in club history to be chosen more often than Letang.
Last year, Crosby appeared in his first All-Star Game since 2007. Crosby contributed a goal and an assist, as he captained the Metropolitan Division to a tournament win. Letang last appeared in an All-Star Game in 2016 in Nashville, when he scored a goal. Letang has three goals and four points in his three previous appearances.
Since the NHL went to a 3-on-3 format to help decide overtime games in 2015-16, Letang is tied for sixth overall in the entire NHL with 11 overtime points (2G-9A). His point total is tied with Los Angeles' Drew Doughty for most among NHL defensemen. This year, Letang is tied for the NHL lead with three OT helpers. During that same time span (2015-18), Crosby is tied for 12th overall, with nine overtime points (4G-5A).
Crosby, the NHL's reigning 'Third Star of the Week,' currently sits second on the team in scoring with 43 points (15G-28A) in 44 games. He picked up eight of his points (1G-7A) in the week preceding the Pens' current bye, helping the team win three of four games to climb back into a playoff position.
Crosby, the winner of the past two Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP, leads all Pittsburgh forwards, and ranks eighth overall among league forwards, averaging 20:46 minutes. It's the most minutes Crosby has averaged in five years. Crosby currently ranks second in the NHL with 559 faceoff wins, and his 1,050 total draws are most in the league. He has won 53.2 percent of his draws, the fourth-best figure of his career.
Letang paces Pittsburgh defenders with 27 points (3G-24A) in 41 games. His 24 assists are sixth-most among NHL defenders, and his 27 points sit tied for 13th-best. Among Metropolitan Division defensemen, Letang ranks fifth in points, and his 25:40 average time on ice total is second-highest behind only Washington's John Carlson (26:17).
Letang, who missed the majority of the season half of last season, plus the playoffs, with a herniated disc in his neck, is closing in on a couple of Coffey's franchise records by a defenseman. Letang needs just nine assists to equal Coffey's total of 332, and he is only 27 points shy of Coffey's 440 points.
This marks the seventh-straight year that the Penguins have had multiple players chosen to participate in the All-Star Game.
Pittsburgh returns from its five-day bye week this weekend, when it hosts the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers in back-to-back home contests at PPG Paints Arena. The Pens play the Red Wings on Saturday at 1:00 PM, a game that will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet. Sunday evening, the Pens and New York Rangers play in a nationally broadcasted game at 7:30 PM on NBC Sports Network. The starting time for that game was moved to avoid a conflict with the Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 PM playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Below is the Metropolitan Division All-Star Team (All-Star appearance):
F Josh Bailey, NYI (1st)
F Sidney Crosby, PIT (3rd)
F Claude Giroux, PHI (5th)
F Taylor Hall, NJD (3rd)
F Alex Ovechkin, WSH (7th)
F John Tavares, NYI (5th)
D Noah Hanifin, CAR (1st)
D Seth Jones, CBJ (2nd)
D Kris Letang, PIT (4th)
G Braden Holtby, WSH (3rd)
G Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (4th)
Head Coach: Barry Trotz, WSH (3rd)