Throughout the first half of the regular season, the Metropolitan Division has been at the top of the NHL heap. After Sunday’s 3-on-3 All-Star tournament, nothing has changed.
Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers scored the tournament-winning goal for the Metro Division just five seconds after they had tied it on a goal by Columbus’s Cam Atkinson, and the Metro Division topped the Pacific Division 4-3 in the final game of the tournament, giving the Metro the $1 million prize. Simmonds was named the tournament’s MVP after scoring three goals in two games, finishing plus-3 with eight shots on goal.
Atkinson tied the game 3-3 when he got a breakaway, had his initial shot stopped by Pacific Division goalie Mike Smith, but followed his rebound and scored. Right off the ensuing faceoff, Taylor Hall and Simmonds found themselves on a 2-on-0, where Hall served up Simmonds with a nice pass that Simmonds buried for the eventual tournament-winner. The two goals came moments after Ryan Kesler appeared to give the Pacific a 3-2 lead, but the goal was challenged for being offside, and after a video review, the officials determined that Connor McDavid was offside and the goal was disallowed.
It would be a tense final couple of minutes, as the Pacific made a late push to tie the game. Kesler had an open net in front with Metro goalie Braden Holtby out of position, but his shot was kicked away by Ryan McDonagh with about 35 seconds remaining. Each game of the tournament was a 20-minute period divided into two 10-minute halves with the teams changing ends for each half. The first half of the final game featured a sensational breakaway goal by Connor McDavid, who went to his backhand and scored after Sergei Bobrovsky charged out to try and poke the puck away. Bobrovsky also made an amazing blocker save on Brent Burns on a 2-on-1 during the first half. In the final 10 minutes, Holtby took over for Bobrovsky and shut down the Pacific, not allowing a single goal in his last period of the tournament.
The tourney began when Pacific routed the Central Division by a 10-3 score. Every skater on the Pacific squad finished with at least two points, led by Johnny Gaureau’s two goals and one assist and Cam Fowler’s four points on the strength of a goal and three assists.
In the other semifinal, the Metro beat the Atlantic Division by a 10-6 score in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate, as it was tied 3-3 after the first half and also featured an empty net goal by the Metro to go along with an Alex Ovechkin goal with one second remaining that gave that game its final four-goal margin. Atkinson and John Tavares each led the way for the Metro with two goals and two assists each. On the Atlantic side, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov starred in his All-Star game debut, scoring a pair of goals and adding two assists, while the Lightning’s Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. Florida’s Vincent Trocheck also had four points on the strength of a goal and three helpers.