|RANGERS ON DEMAND
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|Third-Period All-Star Game Highlights ||Watch |
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The 2008 NHL All-Star Game started off with a bang -- as the Western Conference scored the fastest goal in the game's history -- and ended with a thrilling third period, but in between it was the Rangers' own Scott Gomez who helped the East to a 8-7 victory.
|Rangers center Scott Gomez wore No. 19 for the Eastern Conference All-Stars on Sunday. Gomez set up a third-period goal by Marian Hossa, the brother of Gomez's NHL teammate Marcel Hossa. |
Although Rick Nash, who notched a hat trick, put the West ahead just 12 seconds into the match, the East ended up winning the game when Marc Savard buried a goal with 20 seconds left off passes from Brian Campbell and Eric Staal, the game's MVP with two goals and one assist.
Gomez made a big impression despite seeing less ice time than he would enjoy in a typical NHL game. The Rangers' No. 1 center appeared on an astounding fourth-line for a very deep Eastern Conference squad, skating between Atlanta's Marian Hossa on the left and Mike Richards of Philadelphia on the right.
Gomez finished the game with one assist in 13:26 of ice time. It was the first All-Star Game point of his career. Gomez had appeared in one prior All-Star Game as a rookie in 2000.
Although he did not get an assist on the play, Gomez was instrumental in setting up his team's second goal of the game after the East tied it up. After carrying the puck into the zone in his typical whirlwind fashion that has become so popular with Rangers fans, Gomez dished the puck off to his teammates who made some bang-bang passes before Andrei Markov shot it past Chris Osgood.
Interviewed on the bench following the play, Gomez took some good-natured jabs at Richards, who plays for the rival Flyers.
"He is pretty selfish," Gomez joked. "That was a real selfish play. I wish I had the assist, but I'll let him have it. I'll get it next time."
Sure enough, he did.
In the third period, after the West had tied the game 5-5, Gomez broke out on a 2-on-1 along with Hossa. After taking a feed from his winger, Gomez briefly stared down Manny Legace before sending a laser to Hossa who buried the puck in the back of the net. The goal sent the crowd into a frenzy as the hometown hero potted the goal.
The 6-5 lead breathed life into a previously listless Eastern squad, which had not scored in over a period. Even though the West would retake the lead at 7-6, the Hossa goal set up by Gomez had helped propel the East to victory by breathing renewed confidence into a team that had been unable to score for well over 26 minutes.
Wearing his familiar No. 19 in the red home jersey and with his parents in attendance, Gomez brought the crowd to its feet numerous times.
Just 3:30 into the second period, he made some nice moves at the left point of the offensive zone before finding a wide-open Richards on the right side of the net. Unfortunately, Richards could not handle the pretty pass as it went off his stick behind the net.
In the end, Gomez said it was a privilege playing with such talented individuals, even if it meant skating with a rival.
"Playing with these guys, they make it so easy. They make it fun for me," he said.