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The Eastern Conference All-Star team, captained by Rangers winger Brendan Shanahan, came up short in its bid to win the 55th NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday night, falling 12-9 to the Western Conference in front of 18,532 fans at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
In typical All-Star fashion, the high-scoring game was all about offense, and goaltenders were at the mercy of the shooters. A total of 77 shots were fired, with the West outshooting the East 39-38.
Shanahan, who turned 38 on Tuesday, played on a line with two of the game's youngest and most talented players, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alexander Ovechkin. The line had several scoring chances but accounted for just one goal at 13:32 of the second period, cutting the West's lead at the time to 8-6.
Ovechkin got the goal with assists going to Daniel Briere, who had replaced Crosby on a line change, and defenseman Sheldon Souray. Shanahan was driving to the net as the puck got past Western goalie Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames.
Briere, one of three Buffalo Sabres players to start the game, finished with one goal and four assists to earn MVP honors. He played a big role in the Eastern Conference's comeback attempt after the Western Conference built up a three-goal lead in the second period against East goaltender Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils.
Yanic Perreault, Martin Havlat, Brian Rolston and Rick Nash each had two goals for the Western Conference which scored four straight second-period goals to turn a 5-4 deficit into a commanding 8-5 lead. Rolston scored on a blast from the left circle at 8:30 of the middle period to tie the game, and Nash, Havlat and Perreault each followed with a goal over the next 4:17.
From that point on, the East never came within two goals of the West, which rode Marty Turco's 12 saves in the final period to the victory. Turco, one of only two Dallas Stars players in the game, registered the victory in front of his hometown fans.
The game ended with a wild empty net goal by Dion Phaneuf, whose clearing attempt from the Western Conference zone went all the way down the ice, banking off the left boards and into the goal, which was 183 feet away.
For Shanahan, his eighth NHL All-Star appearance featured 17:16 of ice time and one shot on goal in the second period. That shot came at the 5:48 mark after he stole the puck from West defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom in the neutral zone and went all the way in on Kiprusoff with Lidstrom attempting to catch up. Lidstrom hampered Shanahan just enough to prevent him from getting off anything more than a weakened backhand shot.