Penguins’ Sidney Crosby earns MVP, leads team to All-Star game title
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby had two goals and three assists, and Henrik Lundqvist pitched a first-half shutout to lead the Metropolitan Division to a 10-5 victory over the Central Division in the championship round of the NHL All-Star game Saturday night.
Selected MVP, Crosby finished the night with four goals and four assists in two games on the same rink where he won the Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup three years ago. Lundqvist stopped 11 of 13 shots in his two games to give the Metropolitan Division its second title in four years of the three-on-three All-Star format and the $1 million prize shared by the winners of the four-team divisional tournament.
Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders added two goals and three assists in the final game.
Mikko Rantanen had two goals, and Colorado Avalanche teammate Gabriel Landeskog added one for the Central. Landeskog finished with four goals and three assists, and Rantanen had four goals and two assists.
Crosby assisted on Barzal’s goal against Devan Dubnyk just 22 seconds into the championship game and then made it 5-0 in the closing seconds of the first half off a pass from Barzal. Crosby also assisted on teammate Kris Letang’s goal in the first half and helped seal the game with a goal in the second half that made it 6-2.
The first time the All-Star game came to San Jose in 1997, hometown favorite Owen Nolan capped the night by calling his shot and pointing to the spot where he completed a hat trick that delighted the Shark Tank.
Sharks fans didn’t have as much to cheer for in the return, even though their three All-Stars started the night on the ice together for the Pacific. The Central blitzed the Pacific early for its first win in four years in this format, scoring seven goals on nine shots against Whitehall native John Gibson in the first half of the period in a 10-4 victory.
Gibson, who plays for the rival Anaheim Ducks, drew derisive chants from the fans who later called for Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury to take over.
“Anytime you play it’s a rivalry and the fans take it personally. That’s what makes it fun,” Gibson said. “You’re still at All-Star game, and you’re out there with some of the best players in the league. Stuff’s going to happen.”
Landeskog had a hat trick and an assist, and Roman Josi had three assists and a goal for the Central.
Pekka Rinne and Dubnyk combined to stop 23 of 27 shots, with Dubnyk providing one of the biggest highlights with a glove save that robbed Connor McDavid on a breakaway.
The Metropolitan Division won the second semifinal 7-4 thanks to a tiebreaking goal by Letang with 3:38 to play. Sebastian Aho added an insurance goal seconds after Braden Holtby stopped John Tavares in close.