Matthew Tkachuk's hometown heroics lift Atlantic to NHL All-Star Game win
Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk had himself a game in front of the Florida faithful on Saturday, potting three goals in a back-and-forth affair.
Red Wings star Dylan Larkin had a hat trick in the final and Leafs forward Mitch Marner tallied three assists as the Atlantic Division beat the Central 7-5 in the NHL All-Star Game final on Saturday.
Larkin finished with five goals in the Atlantic's two games, but it was the hometown star stealing the show in Florida.
Playing alongside his brother Brady, Matthew Tkachuk had seven points on the day, including a five-point outburst (and a hat trick) in the Atlantic's semifinal win over the Metropolitan earlier in the afternoon. The effort in front on the Sunrise crowd was enough to net Tkachuk MVP honors — something that was clearly special for the Panthers forward.
“It's been an honor to play in front of them this whole year and it's great that the other players in the league can see what a great place this is to play," Tkachuk told reporters after the game. “I'm as happy as can be here."
It was the Atlantic's first time winning the All-Star Game in seven tries with the current divisional format. The 11 players will split $1 million for the victory.
Tkachuk(s) lift Atlantic into ASG final
In what was a much more wide-open, shinny style game than the opener, the Atlantic Division revved it up late to beat the Metropolitan Division and secure their spot in Saturday's All-Star Game final.
Matthew Tkachuk did not disappoint in front of his hometown Panthers fans, potting a hat trick and adding two assists for a five-point outing. This breakaway, half-slapper right under the bar secured the hatty for Tkachuk and was essentially the dagger for the Atlantic in the 10-6 win.
TKACHUK TKACHING 💥
HATTY FOR CHUCKY!! pic.twitter.com/yuVzQPIs9Q
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 4, 2023
Brother Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators also had a big one, ripping home a goal and adding three assists, while another Panthers star, Aleksander Barkov, added three helpers of his own. Red Wings' Dylan Larkin (2), Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (2), Nikita Kucherov and David Pastrnak rounded out the scoring for the Atlantic, while Leafs star Mitch Marner added three assists in the win.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 10 of 13 shots for the Atlantic in the win.
For the Metro, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin combined for three goals while putting three points apiece, and Blue Jackets star Johnny Gaudreau netted a hat trick in the loss.
Central beats Pacific in first semifinal
The Central Division is off to the final of the NHL All-Star 3-on-3 tournament after ousting the Pacific 6-4 in a surprisingly low-scoring contest on Saturday afternoon.
St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko was a beast for the winning side, potting a goal and three assists with three of those points coming in the final frame. Avalanche sniper Nathan MacKinnon added two goals of his own in the victory.
Connor Hellebuyck and Juuse Saros, who won the "Tendy Tandem" event in Friday's Skills competition, stood tall in goal for the Central, allowing just four goals on 22 shots between them. For the Pacific, Oilers netminder Stuart Skinner and Golden Knights standout Logan Thompson each allowed three goals on seven shots.
Hours after winning the hardest shot competition, Canucks star Elias Pettersson led the way for the Pacific with two goals, including this beauty — looking off former teammate Bo Horvat before ripping one over the shoulder of Saros:
Elias Pettersson with a beaut of a snipe#Canucks | #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/O4CW68SGa1
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 4, 2023
Resurgent Sharks blueline Erik Karlsson and Oilers captain Connor McDavid rounded out the scoring for the Pacific.
Seth Jones and Clayton Keller (2) added the other goals for the Central, while Avs stars Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen, along with Keller and Jones, added helpers in the victory.
The Central will face the winner of the Atlantic and Metro Divisions in the final.
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