Team Toews triumphed over Team Foglino on Sunday at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, with a record-setting final score of 17-12.
The 2015 edition of the game involved the most Nashville Predators representatives in franchise history, with Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, Peter Laviolette and the rest of the Nashville coaching staff all a part of Team Toews. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, also named to the All-Star roster, was unable to participate due to injury.
Forsberg became the first Predators player in franchise history to score in an All-Star Game, potting not just one, but two goals on the evening.
“The Preds have been in the League for a long time now, so it’s very cool that I was the first one to score a goal here,” Forsberg said.
“He wasn’t even supposed to be in the game at first, so to see him come in and have a good game at his age is fun to watch,” Weber said of Forsberg’s performance. “Overall, it was a great event; if there’s one thing I would change it would just be having Peks here. We missed him for sure.”
Team Foligno and Team Toews combined for an NHL All-Star Game-record 29 goals, as Weber and Forsberg both joined the offensive bonanza. The pair ended with two goals and an assist between them in a wide-open, offense-first hockey game.
“Any of the players could have all played a full 60 [minutes],” Laviolette said of the “open style” of the game. “There was a lot of skill out there and guys making great plays. You can see their talent and it’s just amazing out there. Everybody had fun, nobody got hurt and everybody goes back to their normal work now.”
First for Fil, First for Franchise:
Leading up to Sunday’s showcase, the Predators had sent seven players to compete in nine All-Star Games across 16 years as a franchise, and a Preds representative had never tallied a goal in any of the star-studded matchups. That was until Filip Forsberg’s backhand score in the second period of Sunday’s All-Star Game in Columbus.
“Hockey is all about scoring goals in my mind,” Forsberg said. “And I was able to get two pretty easy ones tonight. Johnny [Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames] set me up for two pretty easy goals and to contribute to a high-scoring game was a lot of fun.”
Converting a rebound chance off the pads of Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, Forsberg’s marker was an exclamation point on a shining debut at the 2015 All-Star Weekend. The rookie later added another tally with under four minutes to play in regulation, the primary assist again going to Gaudreau.
“He was great out there,” Forsberg said of his linemate Gaudreau. “You can tell that he’s a heck of a player and really calm when he has the puck. He had two assists for me tonight. The first one I got off of his breakaway, and then the second one I had an open net after he passed it.”
Goals, Goals Galore:
Offensive fire power was on display during the contest - not a surprising outcome for an All-Star Game - but Sunday’s particular output was record-breaking. Twenty-nine combined goals marked the most ever recorded in an All-Star game, while 17 for a single team (Team Toews) also set a new mark.
New York Islanders forward John Tavares also tied an NHL All-Star Game record with four goals on the evening.
“It was fun,” Forsberg said. “I didn’t know we’d set a record [for goals scored], but with the open-minded hockey we were playing tonight, I’m really not that surprised.”
“Usually when you have to score that many goals to win a game, you’re pretty worried about your defense,” Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews said. “When it’s at this event, it’s a little different...The guys came out hot in the second period and it pushed the score up there pretty quick. We got a decent lead and didn’t look back.”
Laviolette said he enjoyed watching the memorable scoring output from both teams, but added that it’s time to shift his attention back to the Nashville Predators. The club the coach is usually responsible for is back in action at Bridgestone Arena versus the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
“I think everybody has that same challenge, coming out of [the All-Star] break and trying to get off the mark quick and get back on track,” Laviolette said. “We’ve worked hard to get in a certain place, but in saying that, it’s only the halfway point and we still have work to do. We’re having a strong start and we’re trying to keep that pace.”
The Preds will begin the unofficial second half of the season in first place in the Central Division with 65 points and a 30-10-5 record.