Rakell powers Pacific past Atlantic in NHL All-Star Game
Sweden's Rickard Rakell finished with two goals and an assist as Team Pacific pocketed the US$1-million bonus with a 5-2 win over Team Atlantic in the 2018 NHL All-Star Game in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday.
Rakell scored the opening goal and the final one in the championship game for Team Pacific, capping a four-team three-on-three tournament made up of players from each National Hockey League division.
The 11 All Stars from the Pacific Division will divide the US$1-million prize money between them.
"It's not the only cash, it gets competitive. It's the three-on-three format and we were pretty excited," Johnny Gaudreau said.
Vancouver Canucks rookie forward Brock Boeser picked up the lion's share of awards, collecting US$90,000 and new car as Most Valuable Player. He is the second rookie in NHL history to win the award, along with Mario Lemieux in 1985.
Boeser, Gaudreau and Drew Doughty each tallied a goal and an assist for the Pacific, who outshot the Atlantic 19-11.
"In the first game, you kind of mess around a little bit, guys aren't shooting the puck, they're trying to make pretty sauce passes," Los Angeles Kings defenseman Doughty said.
"But we were playing in the final for a big chunk of money so we were like, 'We might as well give 'er.' We did give 'er'."
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green scored both goals for the Atlantic, who advanced to the final with a 7-4 win over the Sidney Crosby-led Metropolitan Division.
The Pacific defeated Team Central 5-2 in the other semifinal. The mini-tournament games lasted just two periods instead of the standard three periods during the regular season.
Rakell, 24, opened the scoring just 59 seconds in for the Pacific as he picked up a Anze Kopitar rebound and beat Atlantic goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Team Pacific added to its lead halfway through the first by taking advantage of a giveaway by Atlantic forward Jack Eichel at his own blueline.
Boeser, who turns 21 next month, picked up a Gaudreau rebound and scored into an empty net to make it 2-0.
Atlantic forward Eichel, who was held pointless, committed a team-high two giveaways as he and his linemate Auston Mathews both finished a minus-three.
After Green scored his first of two, Doughty restored the two-goal lead for the Pacific to make it 3-1.
Gaudreau and Rakell scored the second-period goals for the Pacific.
"The only thing that probably didn't fall our way was that Atlantic didn't win," said Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who coached the Atlantic. "But other than that, it was an unbelievable event."
Mike Smith and Marc-Andre Fleury combined to stop nine of 11 shots they faced in the contest. Each of them played 10 minutes.
The game was competitive until the final minute. With the outcome decided, Smith attempted to become the first goaltender to score a goal in an All-Star game.
He had two cracks at it but missed right the first time and then left on the second long-arching attempt as time on the clock ran out.