West shows it's the best in 12-9 victory over East
Colorado's Joe Sakic, making his 12th appearance, had four assists in the win.
DALLAS (AP) -- Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will have to wait to dominate an All-Star game. The young sensations will surely get their chance.
This night belonged to one of the NHL's old stars.
Colorado's Joe Sakic, making is 12th All-Star appearance, had four assists to lead the Western Conference to 12-9 victory Wednesday night.
Well-traveled Yanic Perreault of Phoenix, Columbus' Rick Nash, Minnesota's Brian Rolston and Martin Havlat of Chicago each had two goals for the West squad.
Daniel Briere, one of three starters from Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo, had a goal and four assists and was selected the MVP.
The league's first midseason showcase since 2004 was a high-scoring affair befitting post-lockout rules and new streamlined uniforms designed, in part, to make the players faster.
Crosby and Ovechkin started on the same line and played most of the game together for the Eastern Conference, but just never could get into the flow. Ovechkin's goal in the second period was the only point between the duo that's being compared to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
The 19-year-old Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who was the top vote-getter for the All-Star game, leads the NHL in scoring with 72 points. Ovechkin, the 21-year-old Moscow native who was Rookie of the Year last season has 65 points for Washington, his 29 goals just one shy of the league lead.
Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, at 6-foot-9 the tallest player in NHL history, scored two goals for the East squad.
Neither Crosby or Ovechkin were in the NHL when the last All-Star game was played, before the lockout and then the Olympics last year put the game on the shelf. They were among 20 first-time All-Stars.
Sakic, who has spent his entire 18-season career with the Colorado/Quebec franchise, was the MVP of the last All-Star game when he scored three goal, and the most tenured All-Star this season.
His hat-trick then wasn't enough for the Western Conference in a 6-4 loss, only the second of 16 All-Star games since 1986 in which 10 or fewer goals were scored. The goal-fest Wednesday night still came short of the 2001 game when the North American squad beat the World team 14-12.
This time, Sakic was playing set-up man. He assisted on consecutive goals less than a minute apart midway through the second period that put the West ahead to stay at 7-5. Those were among four goals in a 41/2-minute stretch against New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur, who allowed six goals in 16 shots he faced during the second period.
Sakic's four assists pushed his All-Star total to 16, surpassing Mark Messier's record 14 in 15 games. Sakic moved into third on the list of All-Star points with 22, trailing only Gretzky (25) and Lemieux (23).
Brodeur, a nine-time All-Star who leads the NHL with a 2.01 goals against average, gave up a quick goal to San Jose's Patrick Marleau. He then had a series of nice saves, including a sprawling stop, before the West barrage with goals by Rolston, Nash, Havlat and Perreault.
Nash split two defenders after getting a pass from Sakic to break a 5-5 tie.
Perreault didn't sign with Phoenix until late October and is playing with his third team in three years -- and is on his sixth stop in a 13-season career.
Besides all the fresh faces, the players looked different wearing new uniform systems that the NHL and Reebok tested and designed for more than two years. There were nearly 100 different versions before they came up with what the stars wore -- and all 30 NHL teams will use beginning next season.
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