Patrick Sharp is the MVP of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

2011 NHL All-Star Game: Team Lidstrom Wins, But Team Staal's Patrick Sharp Wins MVP

Despite being a member of the losing Team Staal, Chicago's Patrick Sharp walked away with the MVP award at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh.

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2011 NHL All-Star Game: Patrick Sharp Named MVP; Team Lidstrom Squeaks Past Team Staal, 11-10

RALEIGH -- It's safe to say that Nicklas Lidstrom had a good weekend. He hand-selected a hockey team made up of the best players in the world, and in the only game that team will ever play in together, they came back from a 4-0 deficit in the first period en route to an entertaining 11-10 win over Team Eric Staal.

Oh, and in that game that features 21 goals, Lidstrom put in an unbelievable defensive performance, finishing the game with a plus-seven rating. That's not a typo. He was on the ice for 13 total goals, including 10 of his team's 11. His partner, Shea Weber, reaped those same benefits, finishing with a plus-six rating.

But aside from Lidstrom's unbelievable night, it wasn't exactly a game full of fantastic defensive play, obviously typical of the NHL All-Star Game. It was an offensive affair as the score will quickly tell you, and 20 players finished the game with two or more points. 

Patrick Sharp had three all by himself, and as a result, he'll be leaving Raleigh with a new ride. Despite being a member of the losing Team Staal side, Sharp picked up the MVP, which was voted on by the fans and the writers in attendance. 

It was a quiet night for the hometown heroes, Jeff Skinner and captain Staal. Despite the girlish cheers of many in attendance and the constant efforts by his linemates to get him the puck, Skinner couldn't bury a goal that would've brought the roof off of RBC Center.

Staal, on the other hand, erased a quiet first forty minutes with two goals in the third. His second goal came with an empty net in the final minute and it cut Team Lidstrom's lead down to just a goal. He couldn't net the hat trick, however, as his team went down in defeat.

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2011 NHL All-Star Game Score: Lidstrom, Staal Tied 7-7 In Third

Believe it or not, Team Staal had a 4-0 lead in the first period of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. Really, they did. Go check the box score.

Since the 10:50 mark of the first period, when Anze Kopitar got Team Lidstrom on the board with a breakaway goal, it’s been all about the team in blue. They scored four straight goals to even the score by the end of the first period, and that trend certainly continued into the second.

Just 1:18 into the period, MVP front-runner Patrick Sharp tried to hold off the Team Lidstrom tide, scoring on a wrister to give Team Staal the lead once again. Kris Letang beat Lidstrom netminder Jonas Hiller to re-open the two goal lead a few seconds later, but that would be short lived.

In a matter of five minutes, Team Lidstrom scored three goals to take their first lead of the contest. Anze Kopitar’s second of the game cut the lead to 6-5 before Steven Stamkos evened the score. A minute later, Danny Briere came down the left wing and beat Carey Price with a beautiful shot from a tough angle, and with that, Team Lidstrom has the 7-6 lead heading into the third period.

Montreal’s Price replaced Carolina’s Cam Ward in the Team Staal net for the second period, while Hiller relieved Marc-Andre Fleury in the Team Lidstrom net. Henrik Lundqvist will jump in for Team Staal in the third, while Tim Thomas will be mic’d up and in goal for Team Lidstrom.

There’s still nothing that resembles defense in this game, and there’s actually only been one real whistle – for offsides in the second period – outside of a goal or a save by a goalie. The fans hilariously booed that call.

The Hurricanes’ players have been pretty quiet so far tonight, despite the fact that just about everybody on Team Staal’s been trying to get Jeff Skinner a goal. I think they want the roof to collapse or something, because if Skinner scores, that’s what’s going to happen. The place will go insane.

It’s been an entertaining game so far, and really, since we know the hockey isn’t of the best quality in these games, all we can ask for is a close, entertaining game, right?

This update was written by Travis Hughes, SB Nation’s NHL editor.

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2011 NHL All-Star Game: Patrick Sharp Could Be Putting Together MVP Performance

On a team like the Chicago Blackhawks, a player like Patrick Sharp can go relatively unnoticed. They’re Cup champs so everybody knows all about them, but you typically hear about the stars – Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, etc. – much more than a guy like Sharp.

But make no mistake: Sharp’s in this All-Star Game for a reason, and there’s a reason why Eric Staal selected him before Toews in Friday’s All-Star Draft.

He’s showing us all of those reasons so far today.

Through the midway point of the game, Sharp’s the leading candidate for the MVP award (and the free car that goes along with it). He’s buried a tie-breaking second period goal and he’s assisted on tallies by Claude Giroux, Paul Stastny and Patrik Elias. Four points for Sharp thus far, and the game is only halfway over.

Other candidates in the running are mostly in the running because of Sharp, too. Giroux has two points on the night, both helped by Sharp, while Stastny’s secondary assist only happened because of Sharp’s primary one. Oh, and Stastny’s goal? A tip-in of a Sharp shot.

There’s still plenty of game left, but it’s going to take a big third period by somebody to top what No. 10 has done so far.

This update was written by Travis Hughes, SB Nation’s NHL editor.

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2011 NHL All-Star Game Score: Lidstrom, Staal Tied After First Period

Usually, Alex Ovechkin is a hated rival in Raleigh, but for at least this All-Star Weekend, he’s beloved.

In typical All-Star fashion, the scoring began just 50 seconds in to the game when Ovechkin tipped a point blast from Zdeno Chara past Marc-Andre Fleury. Team Staal looked like they were going to run away with things after that, backed by some fantastic play from Carolina goalie Cam Ward.

In quick succession, Paul Stastny, Patrik Elias and Claude Giroux beat the sieve-looking Fleury to make the score 4-0.

But can you really ever count out a team with a combined payroll of over $100 million? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.) Team Lidstrom got going on a breakaway by Anze Kopitar. He roofed a wrister over the shoulder of Ward to get the blue team on the board. Polite applause came down from the RBC Center seats.

That seemed to get Team Lidstrom going a bit, and they would be the ones scoring in quick succession next. Dustin Byfuglien jumped up into the offense and buried a gorgeous pass from his former teammate Patrick Kane, and then Loui Eriksson and Matt Duchene scored 23 seconds apart to even things up.

It’s been a typical All-Star show so far. No defense, lots of goals, gorgeous passing. Oh, and lots of mascots just awkwardly walking around the building.

MVP Watch After 20 Minutes: Patrick Sharp leads with three assists for Team Staal, while late draft picks Stastny and David Backes have also pitched in with two points of their own.

This update was written by Travis Hughes, SB Nation’s NHL editor.

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2011 NHL All-Star Game, Team Staal Vs. Team Lidstrom: TV Information, Notes And Preview From Raleigh

RALEIGH -- If there's any fear about today's 2011 NHL All-Star Game, it's that the weekend will come to an anti-climatic end. Think about it: on Friday we saw the awesome, unique All-Star "Fantasy" Draft, where the players gathered to pick their own teams like an awkward P.E. class from their childhood. 

Then, on Saturday, we saw what's usually considered the crown jewel of the All-Star Weekend, the All-Star SuperSkills competition. The fans were into the event, the players seemed a little more in to it than usual, and it was its usual entertaining self. It lived up to expectations.

Now, tonight, we have the Game itself. It's an odd 4 p.m. start on a Sunday afternoon, and usually, it's an underwhelming event that plays a lot like NHL 11 on the "Rookie" setting. Lots of goals, no semblance of defense and a lot of embarrassed goalies. 

But this year, with all the hype around the new format, there's a lot more of an expectation for the game. It'll still be the same style of play, but the players are supposed to be more in to the thing this time around. It's supposed to be better. 

We might be underwhelmed. After all, it's still the same old All-Star Game at the end of the day, and without physical play and defense, it's just not something that's all that entertaining. It's quite possible that when the NHL looks back on this weekend, they're going to realize that the climax came way too early.

In any event, tonight's game is on Versus in the United States and CBC in Canada at 4 p.m. Eastern, and you'll likely be watching anyway... because, well, it's hockey. 

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