Under John Scott's leadership, Team Pacific defeated Team Central 9-6 to advance to the All-Star game final against Team Atlantic. The early rounds of the All-Star game were surprisingly entertaining--certainly a huge improvement from prior All-Star games. The highlights:
- The Kings acquitted themselves well enough in game one. Quick made 4 saves on 7 shots, which is more or less par for the course in the All-Star game. Drew Doughty got himself an uncontested breakaway in first period but fired well wide. His best moments came in the second period, where he expertly defended a 2-on-1 and scored an empty-netter.
- John Scott scored! Twice! The first came on a great Brent Burns pass, as Darryl Sutter expected. Scott had another nice moment later when he trucked Patrick Kane in the neutral zone and won himself a breakaway (which was saved, unfortunately). Scott cashed in a second breakaway chance in the second period. Everyone seemed to love the whole Scott experience. It's a real shame the NHL was such a grinch about this at first. It would have been so much smarter to just embrace it.
- A rare All-Star game penalty occurred when Rinne (a joke of an All-Star, given his .906 SV%) played the puck illegally. Joe Pavelski (the best PP goalscorer in the NHL not named Alex Ovechkin) cashed in.
- The Nashville fans may have been rooting for Team Central, but that didn't stop them from loudly booing Patrick Kane every time he touched the puck. It was heartwarming.
- The 3-on-3 format was definitely a success. The players seemed to give a little more effort than in previous games, but the empty space still led to tons of chances and tons of free space for players to show off their skills. I'd expect the NHL will keep it for the 2017 All-Star game in Los Angeles.
- Finally--since this is Jewels From The Crown--here's the Corsi chart from Team Pacific's first game. Great to see good possession play get rewarded. For more fancy stats, see here and here.