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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Chicago goaltender Anton Forsberg makes a pad save on a shot by Minnesota's Mikko Koivu as Jason Zucker, left, and Jordan Oesterle watch during the first period Wednesday in Chicago.

Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:00 am


Lightning leads way with 4 players taking part in All-Star events

Associated Press

The league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning's top stars will be on full display when the city hosts NHL All-Star Weekend later this month.

Top scorer Nikita Kucherov, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defenseman Victor Hedman will join captain Steven Stamkos for the skills competition and 3-on-3 tournament Jan. 27-28 in Tampa, Florida. Kucherov has the most points in the league and Vasilevskiy the most victories in leading the Lightning to an NHL-best 65 points so far this season.

With four players on the Atlantic Division team, Tampa Bay has the most representation for the showcase event. The Los Angeles Kings will send three players to Tampa: center Anze Kopitar, defenseman Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick. The league announced the full All-Star rosters on Wednesday as selected by the NHL's hockey operations department.

Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang of the defending Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins were added to the Metropolitan Division team that also includes Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and goalie Braden Holtby. New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was selected to his fourth All-Star Weekend.

The surprise Vegas Golden Knights got two All-Stars: goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and winger James Neal. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is also on the Pacific Division roster.

All 31 teams must have at least one representative with the divisional teams limited to six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies.

WILD 2, BLACKHAWKS 1: In Chicago, Ryan Suter gave Minnesota the lead on a 4-on-4 early in the third period, Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves and the Wild held off Chicago to end a two-game slide.

The Blackhawks lost shortly after acquiring winger Anthony Duclair and defenseman Adam Clendening from Arizona in a trade for right wing Richard Panik and minor league forward Laurent Dauphin.

Jonas Brodin scored in the second period for Minnesota (23-17-4). The Wild pulled two points ahead of Chicago (21-16-6) in the tight Central Division and tussle for playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, a healthy scratch in Chicago's 8-2 win in Ottawa on Tuesday night, was back in the lineup and celebrated with his first goal since opening night.

Chicago's Anton Forsberg made 25 saves in his third straight start. Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks No. 1 goalie, missed his seventh game with an upper-body injury and hasn't resumed skating. There's no timetable for his return.

Blackhawks defenseman Jan Rutta left early in the third, then returned late in the period, after taking an illegal hit to the head from Minnesota's Marcus Foligno.

Both teams played their second games in two nights. Minnesota lost 3-2 in overtime at home to Calgary on Tuesday night.

Getting the speedy 22-year-old Duclair is another step for Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman as he tries to shake up and add quickness to a perennial contender that's looked sluggish at times while fighting to maintain a playoff position.

The talented but inconsistent Duclair has nine goals and six assists in 33 games, scoring in each of his last two games after reports surfaced that he had asked for a trade.