OTTAWA – Not long before being inserted into Sunday's NHL All-Star Game, Montreal goalie Carey Price said he had no faith in his team playing any semblance of defense.
“I feel like a lamb being led to slaughter,'' Price deadpanned. “I'm just going to hang on and hope I don't get too lit up.''
Price was right, although many inside Scotiabank Place were happy because of it. With Price in goal, Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa's 39-year-old captain, scored twice in the second period. Alfredsson's goals weren't enough, however, as his team lost to one captained by Boston's Zdeno Chara 12-9.
'Team Chara' got a goal from its namesake in the third period with New York's Marian Gaborik earning MVP honors by scoring three goals within the first 22 minutes of the game. 'Team Alfredsson' was outscored 6-3 in the third period as Boston's Tim Thomas earned his fourth All-Star win in goal.
“To have a weekend like this is surreal. You can never dream of anything like this,'' said Alfredsson, who was given a standing ovation as play stopped after he scored his first goal with 5:27 left in the second. He scored his second just a few minutes later.
“You don’t really know how to embrace it, really. I don’t think until the kids go to bed, you can kind of sit and relax, I’m sure I’ll be dead tired, but take it all in and realize that this is something that not everybody gets to experience. I don’t know if I deserve it or not, but it’s definitely humbling. It’s been great.’’
Gaborik opened the scoring against Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist and mimicked the 'shooting gun' celebration that the Rangers' Artem Anisimov did after scoring against Tampa Bay last month.
Unlike Anisimov, Gaborik wasn't kicked out of the game for his antics and once again showed the game's main goal is to have fun.
“We planned that actually,'' Chicago's Marian Hossa said. “He told me about it so I kind of knew when he was going to score. Especially, he want to score on Hank. I was laughing when he pulled it off. I tried to feed him towards the end of the first to get a hat trick right away. Lundqvist came up to me and said 'c'mon you can't feed him that much'.''
Said Gaborik: ''I think [Lundqvist] is one of the best, if not the best, goalie in the league. But I’m glad I got a couple of goals against him. .-.-. I think I tried to get into his mind over the whole weekend. I think it was a pretty good challenge against him but it worked out better for me.''
Florida was represented by defenseman Brian Campbell. Making his fourth All-Star appearance, Campbell knows what the game is all about – and it's not defense. Still, Campbell ended up with an assist and was tied with Chara as a plus-7.
Only one penalty was called during the game – Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos' spin-o-rama on the penalty shot was stopped – and the official tally on hits stood at one (Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell).
“You want to compete as much as you can for the fans. But, no, it's not too intense and there's no hitting,'' Campbell said. “But there some pretty nice goals scored out there. You can see the skill that's out there. You try to make it fun for the fans and you hope it's close at the end. Usually it's pretty tight and that's when it picks up. It was fun.