Giroux, Metro Division Wins at NHL All-Star Game

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Metropolitan Division, featuring Flyers captain Claude Giroux, came away victorious at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose on Saturday night, defeating the Atlantic Division in the semi-finals and the Central Division in the championship game.

Here is a breakdown of the three games.

Central Division 10, Pacific Division 4

The Central Division rolled to victory behind the performance of a pair of stars from the Colorado Avalanche. It started early with Mikko Rantanen scoring the first goal of the game at 1:03 of the first half. Gabriel Landeskog scored 30 seconds later to make it 2-0.

At 4:51, Erik Karlsson got the home fans excited with the first goal for the Pacific Division. That was quickly answered by a goal by Roman Josi. Patrick Kane padded the lead with a goal just 23 seconds later to make it 4-1 Central.

In less than two minutes, Mark Scheifele got on the board and both Rantanen and Kane scored their second goals of the game to make it 7-1 Central after the first half.

The Central kept pouring it on in the second half, getting quick goals from Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly. Landeskog scored again at 4:36 to make it 10-1 and finish off a hat trick.

The Pacific made a push, getting quick goals from Johnny Gaudreau, Karlsson and Brent Burns separated by 1:15 to make it 10-4, but that would cap the scoring.

In goal, John Gibson made two saves on nine shots and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped six of nine shots for the Pacific. For the Central, Pekka Rinne made eight saves on nine shots and Devan Dubnyk made 19 saves on 22 shots. 

Metropolitan 7, Atlantic 4

The Metro wasted no time getting on the board with Sidney Crosby scoring 15 seconds into the game. Seth Jones scored at 1:56 to make it 2-0, but just eight seconds later, Jack Eichel was on the board to make it 2-1 and at 3:13, Steven Stamkos scored to tie the game at two.

The 2-2 score held up into the closing seconds of the first half, when Jones scored again for his second goal of the game and gave the Metro the late lead with 20 seconds left.

It took 56 seconds for Jeff Skinner to get the equalizer for the Atlantic in the second half. John Tavares scored at 1:28 and the Atlantic led for the first time in the game.

The Metro tied the game just over two minutes later with Crosby scoring his second goal of the game. Kris Letang scored at 6:22 to give the Metro a 5-4 lead.

With under two minutes to play, the Metro put the game away with Sebastian Aho scoring with 1:52 to play and Cam Atkinson scoring into an empty net with 45 seconds left.

In goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 10 saves on 13 shots and Jimmy Howard stopped nine of 12 shots faced. Henrik Lundqvist made five saves on seven shots and Braden Holtby made 11 saves on 13 shots.

Metropolitan 10, Central 5

Just like the semi-final, the Metro got on the board early with Mathew Barzal scoring just 22 seconds into the game. At 1:53, Claude Giroux got on the board with a goal to make it 2-0. Kris Letang added a goal at 3:40 to make it 3-0.

The Metro closed out the first half strong with goals by Kyle Palmieri and Crosby to make it 5-0 after the first half.

The Central opened the scoring at 1:15 of the second half with Landeskog scoring. Rantanen also added a goal at 3:25 to make it a three-goal game with 6:35 to play. 

Crosby scored with 5:58 to play to make it 6-2, but that was quickly answered by Ryan O'Reilly with 5:22 left.

The Metro pulled away after that. Aho scored with 4:25 remaining to make it 7-3 and Atkinson followed with a goal to make it 8-3 just eight seconds later.

That forced the Central to pull the goalie and Barzal hit the empty net with 2:44 to play to make it 9-3. Rantanen scored again with 1:30 to play and Blake Wheeler followed with a goal 20 seconds later to make it 9-5, but Atkinson scored into an empty net with 52 seconds left to ice the game and cap the scoring.

In goal, Lundqvist stopped all six shots he faced and Holtby made 12 saves on 17 shots for the Metro. Dubnyk made six saves on 11 shots and Rinne stopped six of nine shots faced.

Giroux finished with one goal and one assist in the two games. Sidney Crosby was named All-Star Game MVP, with two goals and three assists in the final game and a total of four goals and four assists in the two games.