The All Star Game, hosts by Nashville, had a new set up this year. Three periods of hockey, 20 minutes each, and each period consisted of two conferences fighting for a spot in the final 20 minute game, where the winner would take the million dollar prize.
The first 20 minutes was the Metropolitan team against the Atlantic team. Kris Letang opened the scoring to put Metro up 1-0. Erik Karlsson tied it up soon after. Evgeny Kuznetsov (Alex Ovechkin's replacement) and Jaromir Jagr added a couple more goals in the first ten minutes to even the score 2-2 heading into the second half of the game. Evgeni Malkin put Metro ahead again 3-2, but goals by Aaron Ekblad and P.K. Subban won the game for the Atlantic team with a final score of 4-3.
The second 20 minute game included the Central team against the Pacific team. And, let's face it, a lot of people watching were cheering for the Pacific team's captain, John Scott, because many had voted him in. After James Neal (Jonathan Toews replacement) opened the scoring for the Central team, but big bad John Scott notched his first ever All Star goal with an assist to his former San Jose Sharks teammate, Brent Burns. The score was even 1-1. Joe Pavelski's power play goal put the Pacific team ahead again, but only until James Neal notched another one to even the score 2-2. Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano were on a line with Oiler's rival, Taylor Hall, and they lit the game up when Johnny scored late in the first 10 minutes to put the Pacific up 3-2. Patrick Kane would come back and tie the game before the end of the first 10 minutes. And then it was captain John Scott against captain Patrick Kane in a playful scuffle at the end of the midpoint to add to the fun. In the second half of the 20 minute game, Daniel Sedin would put the Pacific ahead again 4-3. Again, the arena went crazy in the stand when John Scott notched his second goal of the game to give the Pacific a two-goal lead. Two more goals by Taylor Hall and another by Daniel Sedin put the Pacific up 7-3. The Central team came back with goals by Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Seguin, but Taylor Hall and Drew Doughty would put the nail in the coffin even though Roman Josi netted one last goal for the Central team. The Pacific won with a final score of 9-6, and they were heading into the final 20 minute game.
The final 20 minute game saw the Atlantic team take on the Pacific team. For as much talent that was displayed on the Atlantic team, I was siding with Johnny and Giordano with their captain, John Scott. Gaudreau and Gio worked well with Oilers rival Taylor Hall on a line that seemed to dominate most of the first ten minutes. But no goals were scored as both goalies fought hard to keep their teams in it. It was in the second half of the game when Johnny rung a few pucks off the bars when things started to get interesting. Again, Gaudreau and Giordano put their skills on display, but it was the Daniel Sedin, Drew Doughty, Corey Perry line that put the Pacific team on the board when Perry sniped one before we even knew it went it. A few minutes later, Perry buried another one, but after a coaches challenge, it was called off and the game remained 1-0. With time ticking down on the clock, the arena erupted into chanting for captain John Scott, "MVP, MVP, MVP!" Team Pacific took the win (and the million dollar prize) while John Scott was, indeed, voted Most Valuable Player.
If every All Star weekend could host a player like John Scott, an underdog, a player who typically wouldn't be at an All Star game, I would probably be more likely to watch. Scott brought a pride to the weekend that I haven't seen in many years. He pumped up his team with his leadership and that, ultimately, is what won the game for the Pacific team. Thank you, John Scott, for not only making the All Star weekend interesting, but for proving that sometimes the underdog truly is the most important player in the tournament. YOU ROCKED IT!