Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pacific Takes NHL All-Star Win

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pacific Takes NHL All-Star Win

Article excerpt

By Fred Goodall

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. | Vancouver's Brock Boeser was more than happy to just be at the NHL AllStar game, mingling with some of the highprofile players he grew up admiring.

Leaving Amalie Arena as the first rookie to take MVP honors since Mario Lemieux in 1985 on Sunday far exceeded anything he imagined possible.

"Shocked," the 20yearold said Canucks star said, describing his reaction. "I never would have dreamt this any time in life."

Rickard Rakell had two goals and Boeser, Johnny Gaudreau and Drew Doughty also scored to help the Pacific Division beat the Atlantic 52 in the championship game of a fourteam divisional tournament played in an entertaining threeonthree format adopted for the AllStar game in 2016.

The NHL's leading rookie scorer with 24 goals and 19 assists for the Canucks also had a helper in the final after scoring to put his team ahead for good in the Pacific's 52 semifinal victory over the Central Division.

"I was definitely nervous coming into it," said Boeser, the only rookie among 15 firsttime AllStars. "(I said) enjoy this, just have fun, smile. That's what I did."

Goalies MarcAndre Fleury and Mike Smith teamed to allow just four goals in the two games the Pacific won to claim the $1 million winnertakeall prize.

Mike Green had two goals for the Atlantic, one off both Fleury and Smith in the final.

Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov had three goals in the Atlantic's 74 semifinal win over the Metropolitan Division, however the Lightning's young star was shut out in the championship game.

"After we saw that we won the first game, we said we needed to tighten up a little bit and play a little harder there for the cash," said Gaudreau, who plays for the Calgary Flames.

"We made sure we were ready to go. (Because) now there's something to play for in the finals," said Smith, who stopped six of seven shots in the second half. "Our guys did a good job to up the tempo."

AllStar weekend began with a free outdoor concert headlined by Fitz and the Tantrums and also featured a threeday fun fest for fans, as well as the annual skills competition that wrapped up Saturday's festivities. …

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