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NHL All Star Game: Loui Eriksson Leads Team Lidstrom Past Team Staal

(Sports Network) – Loui Eriksson tallied two goals — including the game-winner late in regulation — along with two assists as Team Lidstrom clipped Team Staal, 11-10, in the 58th NHL All-Star Game from RBC Center.

Danny Briere and Anze Kopitar also scored twice for the Lidstroms, which opened up a four-goal lead in the game’s first six minutes, then fell behind in the third period only to rally for the victory.

Shea Weber posted a game-high four assists while Jonathan Toews added a goal and two helpers, with Matt Duchene, Martin St. Louis, Dustin Byfuglien and Steven Stamkos all lighting the lamp once.

Tim Thomas earned his third win in three All-Star appearances by limiting the opposition to four goals on 15 shots in the final 20 minutes.

Eric Staal delighted his home fans with a pair of scores and Kris Letang also notched two goals for the Staals, which also received a goal and two assists from game MVP Patrick Sharp.

Claude Giroux picked up three points on a goal and two assists, and Alex Ovechkin added a goal and a helper in defeat.

Henrik Lundqvist was saddled with the loss despite yielding only three goals on 14 shots in the third period.

Letang eventually snapped a deadlock at 8:46 of the third period and Team Staal regained the lead at 8-7, but Briere beat Thomas just before the midway point and 48 seconds later, Toews made it 9-8 for Team Lidstrom.

St. Louis then moved down the right wing, cut to the net and managed to sneak a backhander home off the rush with 6:07 left in regulation for a two-goal margin.

Rick Nash converted a Corey Perry pass just over a minute later for yet another one-goal difference, and after Lundqvist was pulled for an extra skater, Eriksson hit the empty net.

The home captain wasn’t through, and Staal notched his second of the contest with 33.6 seconds remaining to bring his side within 11-10, but an equalizer did not amterialize despite pressure on Thomas.

The two-year gap in competition due to the 2010 Winter Games wasn’t a factor, as Ovechkin tallied for Team Staal against Marc-Andre Fleury just 50 seconds after the opening faceoff. It was 2-0 at 2:48 when Paul Stastny redirected a Sharp feed during a 2-on-1 break.

Patrik Elias tripled the advantage 32 seconds later by one-timing a Stastny dish, then Sharp set up a Giroux backhander for a 4-0 game at 5:41.

Kopitar put Team Lidstrom on the board with 9:10 left in the first on a nifty rising backhander over Cam Ward’s glove and Byfuglien converted a Patrick Kane pass at the left post at 13:17.

Eriksson shot one off Ward’s glove less than three minutes later, then Duchene scored on a break 23 seconds later for a 4-4 tie.

Jonas Hiller was welcomed to action when Sharp scored off a Giroux pass at 1:18 of the second period and Team Staal led 5-4, and Letang ripped one home at 6:10 for a two-goal edge.

Kopitar’s two-man breakaway goal was the first goal allowed by Carey Price at 10:08, then Stamkos tied the game with 5:49 left in the second and Briere followed to put Team Lidstrom up 7-6 only 81 seconds after.

Staal slipped a shot between Thomas’ pads for a 7-7 contest with just under four minutes played in the third, and the scorefest took a short pause almost 2 1/2 minutes later.

Ovechkin threw his stick to foil a Duchene breakout at the 6:13 mark, and the young Avs forward was awarded a penalty shot. Lundqvist followed him to the right post and smothered the shot with his pad.

Game Notes

The 21 total goals ranks fourth all-time in NHL mid-season contests, with North America’s 14-12 win over the World in 2001 ranking first…The East’s 12-11 win in 2009 is second, while a 16-6 Campbell decision over the Wales in 1993 holds third place…Team Staal won the skills competition on Saturday by a 33-22 count…The East topped the West by a 12-11 score two years ago in Montreal…Sharp became the first Chicago Blackhawks player to be named an All-Star MVP since Eric Daze in 2002 at Los Angeles…Bobby Hull won back-to- back MVP honors in 1970-71 for the ‘Hawks…Martin Havlat picked up three assists for Team Lidstrom, while Elias, Stastny and Nash recorded a goal and assist each for Team Staal…The 2012 All-Star Game is slated for Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.