Forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang will represent the Penguins and the Metropolitan Division at the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, January 31, 2016 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The All-Star Skills Competition will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network, followed by the All-Star Game at 5 p.m. the following day, also on NBC Sports Network.
This year the All-Star Game will use a new format – a 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament featuring three 20-minute games. Each of the 44 NHL players selected will be divided into four teams by division.
All four teams have 11 players (6 forwards; 3 defensemen; 2 goaltenders) and each of the NHL’s 30 teams have to send at least one representative.
Malkin, Letang and the Metropolitan Division will face the Atlantic Division squad in one semi-final, with the winner advancing to the championship game against the winning team from the showdown between the Central and Pacific Divisions (read below for more game info).
Malkin was named to his sixth All-Star Game and Letang his third. Among Penguins players, only Mario Lemieux (13 selections) and Jaromir Jagr (9) have been selected to play in more All-Star Games than Malkin. Paul Coffey (5 appearances) is the only defenseman with more appearances than Letang in club history.
This also marks the sixth consecutive All-Star Game that the Penguins have had multiple players voted into the game.
Malkin and Letang won’t be the only Penguins’ representatives in Nashville. The Penguins equipment staff, led by head manager Dana Heinze and his assistants, Teddy Richards, Jon Taglianetti and Danny Kroll, will join Nashville’s equipment staff assisting players during the weekend.
Malkin is Pittsburgh’s leader in both goals (18) and points (37) this season. His point total is tied for first in the Metropolitan Division with Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, while only the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin has scored more goals (19) among division players.
Both Malkin and Kuznetsov are tied with Boston’s Patrice Bergeron for the most points among all Eastern Conference forwards. Their 37 points are tied for 12th-most among all NHL players, leaving them just four points shy of cracking the top-five.
The reigning NHL ‘Third Star’ of the Week, Letang has compiled 24 points (4G-20A) in 30 games this season, with his 0.80 point-per-game average the fourth-best total among all NHL defensemen. Only Carolina’s Justin Faulk (30 points) and John Carlson of Washington (27) have produced more points among Metropolitan Division blueliners.
Letang enters Wednesday’s game in Chicago having registered three-straight multiple-point contests, which has helped him average better than a point per game with 20 points (3G-17A) over his last 19 appearances.
Malkin has suited up for three All-Star Games, tallying two points (1G-1A) in 2012 at Ottawa; scoring his first All-Star Game goal in 2009 at Montreal; and collecting two assists in his debut contest in Atlanta in 2008.
Malkin missed last year’s game in Columbus and the 2011 contest in Carolina due to injury.
Letang collected one assist at the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa and scored a pair of goals in his first game in Carolina in 2011.
The 2016 All-Star Skills Competition returns to a matchup between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars on Saturday evening, with the winning conference earning the right to select when their semi-final matchup will be played; first or second on Sunday.
For a complete rundown of the new All-Star Game format visit this link: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=788532.
For full rosters, click here.