Best moments from a not-so-terrible 2018 NHL All-Star Game

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Brad Marchand was a fan “favorite” at the NHL All-Star Game. (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Brad Marchand was a fan “favorite” at the NHL All-Star Game. (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

There was an NHL All-Star Game today, and it actually wasn’t bad.

Kid Rock was predictably awful, but the guys the fans actually paid to see, the players, put on a show of skill, personality and even mixed in a backcheck from time to time.

Here were the most memorable moments from the four-team, 3-on-3 tournament, which was won by the Pacific Division.

To kick things off, Brad Marchand embraced his newly-rejuvenated villain status during player intros. The crowd rained boos down on Marchand, who was recently suspended for five games for elbowing Devils’ Marcus Johansson, but the Bruins forward soaked it all in and continued to antagonize the masses, blowing kisses and waving to the rafters with that rat-like grin out in full force.

Country artist Brett Young had the honors of performing the U.S. anthem before puck drop, and let’s just say, he milked his moment in the spotlight for as long he possibly could.

The P.K. Subban-led Central Division chose 50 Cent’s classic “In Da Club” as its goal song, and it gloriously rang through the loud speakers at Amalie Arena after the team’s two goals in the opening contest.

Pekka Rinne stole the show in the opening frame of the Central-Pacific matchup, pitching the rare All-Star Game shutout during his half of the game.

We know how much Flames goaltender Mike Smith enjoys, and excels, playing the puck, and he took an opportunity during the opening period to hop into the rush with his friends.

The young snipers were on fire for Team Pacific as captain Connor McDavid tallied four points while Brock Boeser, who put on a clinic in the Accuracy Shooting event on Saturday, showed off his deadly release and went bar down for the game-winner.

“Ovechkin-to-Crosby” has a strange yet beautiful ring to it. On the very first shift of the second game between Team Atlantic and Team Metro, Ovechkin set up No. 87 for the opening goal. Since they’re best friends, Crosby returned the favor and set up Ovechkin’s marker later in the frame.

Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player, was honored by the Tampa Bay Lightning organization as one of their Community Heroes during the second contest. The benches cleared to pay their respects and O’Ree was presented with a jersey to commemorate the occasion.

For the second year in a row, there was no escaping the much-maligned offside challenge. Erik Karlsson scored on a nifty give and go with Jack Eichel, but Nikita Kucherov’s skate was still on the ice as he was going for a change. Luckily for all, it was an opportunity for an animated Wes McCauley to deliver the news to the crowd in a way only the viral legend himself can.

“Auston said ‘before the next faceoff, If we score here on this next shift, point at the net,'” Jack Eichel said on the inspiration behind honoring Auston Matthews’ viral celebration.

After Eichel netted the winner for Team Atlantic, Kucherov got his hat rick in front of the home crowd. The blue squad took the game 7-4 and moved onto the final to face McDavid and the Pacific. The goal that completed the trick for Kucherov was quite tasty, and the bench celebration was even better.

Marchand continued having a blast in the final contest, mockingly milking a penalty he drew on Johnny Gaudreau with a well-executed turtle.

Boeser was named MVP following Team Pacific’s 5-2 victory in the final game. The magnificent season for the Canucks rookie continued with his latest accolade, as he earned a new car and a few more zeros in his bank account after turning more than a few heads this weekend.