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Eichel, Skinner both score goals to cap All-Star Weekend

Atlantic Division falls to Metropolitan Division, 7-4

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

SAN JOSE - It was a short outing for the Atlantic Division, but that didn't stop Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner from leaving their marks on the 2019 NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center on Saturday night. 

Eichel and Skinner both scored goals in the Atlantic's 7-4 loss to the Metropolitan Division, which resulted in an early exit in the 3-on-3 tournament. The Metro went on to win the event with a 10-5 win over the Central Division in the final. 

Neither of the players dwelled on the result when they shared the podium afterward. 

"I mean you're competitive and I'm no different," Eichel said. "I want to win. But it's also fun and you're trying to enjoy yourself. It just wasn't the Atlantic's night this year."

Video: SKINNER/EICHEL: Postgame Interview

Eichel and Skinner spent the contest on a line with Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak, and the trio found quick chemistry. Eichel put the Atlantic on the board, catching a feed from Pastrnak in the slot and burying a backhand shot past Henrik Lundqvist, who had stifled him in the Skills event on Friday.

Video: MET@ATL: Pastrnak sets up Eichel's sweet goal

Skinner also made the most of a Pastrnak feed, staying patient as he crossed in front of Braden Holtby until he found room to bury a shot top-shelf.

Video: MET@ATL: Skinner makes crafty move to tie the game

"I didn't have much space there, so I just figured I'd try and flick it far-side," Skinner said. "Fortunately, it went in."

The Metropolitan Division benefitted from a three-point night from Sidney Crosby, who had missed the Skills event on Friday due to an illness. 

"He didn't look too sick, did he?" Eichel said. "Maybe we could challenge his sickness. He's been telling everyone he was sick, but it looked like he was pretty healthy out there."

"He's probably still a pretty good player when he's sick," Skinner added. "I don't know if that's going to hold him back."

Eichel had the added task of playing while mic'd up for Sportsnet's broadcast of the game, an idea he said he was approached with earlier in the week. 

"I've got Crosby coming down on me and I have someone talking to me," he said. "It's definitely a weird experience, but it's cool. At events like this, it's good to do as much as you can."

The game capped a memorable weekend for Buffalo's dynamic duo, who became the first pair of teammates to represent the Sabres as All-Stars since Danny Briere, Brian Campbell and Ryan Miller all made the team in 2007. 

They'll get back to work at practice on Monday, with the Sabres aiming to mount a playoff push down the stretch. They have back-to-back road games in Columbus and Dallas on Tuesday and Wednesday, then kick off a seven-game homestand against Chicago on Friday.

This night, however, was a chance to soak in time spent among the game's elite.

"Just being a fan of the game, you're a fan of the best players in the world and they're all out there," Eichel said. "It's a lot of fun being out there."

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