Share this article

print logo

Eichel and Skinner each get a goal in Atlantic Division loss

SAN JOSE — They kept score and there was money involved in the results so Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner obviously wanted to win.

That didn't happen, as the Atlantic Division squad suffered a 7-4 loss to the eventual champion Metropolitan Division in the second NHL All-Star semifinal Saturday night in SAP Center. But the second career All-Star appearance for the Buffalo Sabres' two stars was another big moment for the first-year teammates and linemates.

"Just being a fan of the game, you're a fan of the best players in the world," Eichel said. "They're all out there so it's a lot of fun being out there with them."

"We saw goalies play well, Skinner said, referring to Metro's Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby and Atlantic's Andrei Vasilevskiy. "There's a lot of ice, a lot of skill players out there. They made some good saves."

Eichel and Skinner both scored a goal in the game, which was 20 minutes long and played in two 10-minute halves. Skinner's goal at 56 seconds of the second half got Atlantic even and Toronto's John Tavares scored 32 seconds later to make it 4-3 but Washington's Holtby pitched a shutout the rest of the way and his team got him four unanswered goals.

Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby tied the game at 3:37 and Penguins teammate Kris Letang put Metro ahead for keeps, 5-4, on a breakaway after he stripped Eichel of the puck in the offensive zone. The defenseman went the length of the ice to beat Detroit's Jimmy Howard on a backhand with 3:38 left.

"I was mad I tried to toedrag Letang and he went in for a breakaway," Eichel said. "You're competitive. You want to win. But it's fun and you're trying to enjoy yourself too."

Crosby had five points in Metro's 10-5 championship game win over Central. He had four goals and eight points in the two games to earn MVP honors after missing Friday's Skills Challenge due to illness. The Metro players shared a $1 million prize.

"He didn't look too sick, did he? Maybe we can challenge his sickness," Eichel joked. "He looked like he was pretty healthy out there."

Eichel scored his goal at 2:04 of the first half, eight seconds after his team fell into an early 2-0 hole after goals by Crosby and Columbus' Seth Jones. It came on a backhander that beat Lundqvist.

Eichel and Skinner played on a trio with Boston's David Pastrnak. The group was minus-2 in the game. Eichel had three shots on goal and Skinner had two. Skinner tallied at 56 seconds of the second half, pulling the puck around Holtby, to get the Atlantic even at 3-3.

"I didn't have much space there," Skinner said. "So I figured I'd try to flip it far side and fortunately it went in."

A goal by Toronto's John Tavares made it 4-3 but Crosby tied the game at 3:37 to start a string of four straight Metro goals.

There was one small blip in Eichel's All-Star night. He was wearing a live microphone on the ice for Sportsnet's broadcast through Canada and was being interviewed during play, but was caught uttering an obscenity when he said "that was a bleep pass" on one foray into the offensive zone. Eichel said the network had asked him a few days ago to wear the mic on one of the two nights here.

"I saw a couple guys doing it yesterday and a few guys last year. It was fun," said Eichel, who was unaware of the obscenity. "They were in my ear while I was out there, which was pretty funny. It was a cool experience. I got Crosby coming down on me and there's someone talking at me. It's definitely weird. But at events like this, it's good to do as much as you can, soak it all in and enjoy it."

In the opener, Central rolled past the host Pacific, 10-4, as Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog had a hat trick, former Sabre Ryan O'Reilly of St. Louis had a goal and three assists and South Buffalo native Patrick Kane of Chicago had two goals and an assist. O'Reilly went 1-2-3 in the final but Kane had just one assist and a minus-4 rating.

There are no comments - be the first to comment