There is something to be said about home-court advantage. There is also something to be said about Nicklas Lindstrom, who carefully crafted a powerhouse team that ultimately proved too much for hometown favorite, Team Staal.
The NHL All-Star game, which played out at the RBC Center on Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C., ended with an 11-10 victory for Team Lindstrom. It also pitted Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller against current teammate and Team Staal right winger Corey Perry.
Hiller took command of Team Lindstrom’s net in the second period after Marc-Andre Fleury allowed four goals from 14 shots in the first. The Anaheim netminder led all six goalies with a .882 save percentage, allowing only two goals off 17 shots.
In a curios turn of events, Hiller, who leads the league in wins and boast a .926 save percentage, was chosen last of the goalies in the fantasy draft, taken by Team Lindstrom in the 10th round. The pick was seemingly only based on the rule that all six goalies had to be drafted by the end of the 10th round.
The only goaltender from the Western Conference, Hiller put up the biggest number of the night, outshining the five other all-stars netminders. In such a close game, Hiller’s tight guard of the net in the second period played a big part in Team Lindstrom’s win.
One person that was able to get around Hiller this past weekend was his own Anaheim teammate. Corey Perry’s wrist shot, in the first round of the All-Star skills competition elimination shootout, flew right past Hiller and into the net. Perry went on to win the shootout contest for Team Staal and Hiller foreshadowed his fate in the All-Star game, allowing only two goals, one from Perry and another from Columbus’ Rick Nash, during the skills competition.
Perry played 16 minutes during the All-Star game and had two assists. His first came off a goal by captain Eric Staal, early in the third period, tying the game 7-7. Twelve minutes later, Perry marked his second assist on a goal by Rick Nash. He is emerging as not only one of the Ducks top players, but also one of the NHL’s bests. Six years into his career with the league, Perry is projected to have a 40-goal season and is well on his way, scoring four goals in the last six games, tallying up 25 on the year.
Ducks rookie Cam Fowler made his first All-Star appearance, representing Team Lindstrom alongside Jonas Hiller. Fowler was eliminated from the shootout competition but also participated in the hardest shot event, clocking in attempts at 93.7 mph and 93.8 mph.
Hiller, Perry, Fowler and the rest of the Anaheim team will have a couple more days off before returning to Honda Center to host the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 2.