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NHL: All-Star Game Review - Atlantic stars come out on top

The NHL's All-Star weekend took place at FLA Live Arena in Florida with the league's best players and coaches competing against each other in a divisional tournament and skills competition.

The Atlantic Division won the tournament, beating the Central Division 7-5 in the Final in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,250.

Skills highlights

The skills competition kicked off the All-Star weekend with seven events taking place.

Highlights included New York Islanders centre Brock Nelson winning the accuracy shooting event, topping Calgary Flames' Nazem Kadri in the Final and Carolina Hurricanes' Andrei Svechnikov earning the faster skater award ahead of Los Angeles Kings' Kevin Fiala.

The hardest shot competition is usually won by a defenseman, but Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson was proud to become just the fourth forward to claim the title registering a top effort of 103.2 mph.

Tkachuks lead Atlantic to victory

Brothers Matthew Tkachuk of the hometown Florida Panthers and Brady of Ottawa Senators were key reasons for the Atlantic Division winning out.

The Atlantic beat the Metropolitan Division in the semi-final while the Central defeated the Pacific.

To the delight of the Florida crowd, their own Tkachuk was named the most valuable player of the tournament.

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The 25-year-old was acquired in a blockbuster trade from the Calgary Flames in the off-season and has become an instant hero scoring 25 goals, 41 assists for 66 points in 49 regular season games.

He had three goals and two assists in a 10-6 win in the semi-final and a goal and assist in a 7-5 Final victory.

Brady finished with five points (one goal, four assists), including getting a goal and three assists in the semi-final game.

After enjoying the opportunity to play on the same team together, the pair will now part and do battle for a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Matthew's Panthers currently find themselves three points from a Wild Card position and are +150 to make it. Brady's Senators are six points away in the same fight and +1550 to qualify.

Winning goalies

The Atlantic were led to victory and the $1million prize pot by Boston Bruins' Linus Ullmark and Tampa Bay Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy who proved themselves the strongest tandem in the tournament.

Ullmark leads all goalies in the NHL with 26 wins (26-4-1) and his league best .937 save percentage and 1.90 goals against average (GAA) has helped the Bruins to top of the NHL standings and -300 to win the Presidents' Trophy as the regular season's best team.

Vasilevskiy (23-12-1) has set the standard over recent seasons, taking the Lightning to three straight Stanley Cup Final appearances and two championships.

The 6'4" big-game performer has a .918 save percentage and 2.51 GAA helping Tampa Bay to third place in the Atlantic.

Ullmark is -175 to win the Vezina Trophy as goalie of the year which Vasilevskiy won in 2018/19 and is +1400 to do so again.

The pair may well come to face to face in the playoffs with the Bruins +260 to win the Eastern Conference and the Lightning +650 to extend their Conference title run to four years.

Toronto Maple Leafs, who were represented by Mitch Marner at All-Star, may have something to say about that, though, sitting between the pair in the Atlantic Division and they are +500 to win the Eastern Conference.

Champions lead way for Central

Over in the West, All-Stars of the reigning Stanley Cup Champions Colorado Avalanche led the way offensively for the Central Division.

Forward Nathan MacKinnon had three goals, two assists over the tournament, Mikko Rantanen a goal and three assists and defenseman Cale Makar a goal and two assists.

The Central beat the Pacific 6-4 in the semi-final but despite the excellence of the trio weren't able to overcome the Atlantic in the Final. The defeat was their third straight Final defeat under the current format.

MacKinnon, Rantanen and Makar were pivotal in the Avalanche's run to the cup last season which ended a 21-year drought.

Makar was awarded the Con Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs which he added to the James Norris Memorial as the league's best defenseman and he is +250 to be named that again.

The Avalanche are +275 to win the Western Conference and +650 to retain the Stanley Cup.

Rivals team up

A heart-warming story from the weekend was long-time bitter rivals Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin of Washington Capitals teaming up as part of team Metropolitan.

As well as participating together in the Breakaway Challenge, the pair played on the same line in the Metro's 10-6 defeat to the Atlantic with Crosby scoring two goals and an assist and Ovechkin getting a goal and two assists.

The heated rivalry between Pittsburgh and Washington made it difficult for certain Hall of Famers to be friendlier earlier in their NHL careers, but as they've got older their mutual admiration has grown and the respect level for each was on full display in Florida.

The battle for supremacy between the two will continue, though, with the Capitals three points ahead of the Penguins in the division and both in a fight to reach the playoffs.

Each team currently holds a Wild Card spot into the post-season from the Western Conference, with the Capitals -130 to qualify and the Penguins -320.

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