Record-breaking All-Star Game goes to North America
Updated: Wednesday February 14, 2001 6:16 PM
DENVER (CNNSI.com) -- With so many horns blaring, one would think the Pepsi Center was on fire Sunday.
But it was the players who were on fire, smoking an All-Star Game-record 26 goals past the best netminders in hockey.
All-Star MVP Bill Guerin scored three goals and had two assists to lead the North American team to a 14-12 win over the World team.
"Hopefully, we all are going to be members of the team," Guerin said. "When you are involved in something like that, you are never going to be upset about who your linemates are."
Five sets of goals came less than a minute apart.
Alexei Kovalev's goal got the World to 12-11 with 5:32 left and snapped the combined record of 22 goals in 1993. The game was the third penalty-free All-Star Game. Last year's 9-4 contest won by the World team had one.
Mario Lemieux returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team he owns, in late December after a 3 1/2-year retirement. The 35-year-old center, a three-time All-Star MVP, gave North America a 5-4 lead in the second period with his 12th career All-Star goal and earned an assist in the third period on a goal by Simon Gagne, making his All-Star debut.
Lemieux, who had a game-high nine shots, has played in only 16 games this season, tallying 16 goals and 16 assists.
Guerin -- a first-time All-Star at age 30 -- had the 12th hat trick in All-Star history and the fifth in five years. Guerin, one of 14 first-time all stars, also had two assists -- leaving him one point shy of Lemieux's record-setting effort in 1988.
"It was awesome to have him around, his presence was definitely felt," Guerin said of Lemieux. "Just to be involved in something with him like this was a thrill for everybody."
Theo Fleury, who rebounded from his worst season to be an All-Star, had two goals to give him six in seven career games.
North America leads the All-Star series against the World 3-1 in the format adopted in 1998 before the Nagano Olympics -- the first that featured NHL players.
Amonte had two goals and two assists, and Weight, Guerin's linemate with the Edmonton Oilers until a November trade sent Guerin to Boston, chipped in a goal and three assists.
"It was great," Guerin said of being with Weight. "Dougie and I are best of friends and I really enjoyed playing together. This was a nice opportunity to play in an All-Star game together and just be reunited and have a good friend, Tony Amonte, with us out there, too."
Each country taking part in next year's Salt Lake City Olympics must name at least eight players to the team by next month.
The action got so fast-paced without stoppages that when Gagne scored his second goal to make it 13-11, ABC was in a commercial.
Sweden also got a good look at who might represent them next year as Colorado's Peter Forsberg had a goal and two assists; Mats Sundin had two goals and two assists; Fredrik Modin, another first-timer, had four assists; and Markus Naslund added a goal and assist.
Forsberg, who scored on Colorado teammate Patrick Roy, was one of five players from the host Avalanche to start the game. Joe Sakic, the North American center, and Milan Hejduk, who replaced injured forward Jaromir Jagr, each had a goal. Hejduk brought the World within 9-8 just 1:05 into the third period.
Only 40-year-old Ray Bourque, making his 19th All-Star appearance -- second only to Gordie Howe's 23 -- kept the Avalanche from getting all of their offensive players on the scoreboard.
Bourque was almost outscored by Roy, North America's starting goalie. Roy was originally credited with an assist on Fleury's goal just 49 seconds after the opening face-off. After further review, the helper was given to New Jersey defenseman Scott Stevens.
Martin Brodeur, North America's third-period goalie, earned the victory despite allowing five goals on 23 shots -- the most goals against for his team. Sean Burke, the winner of Saturday night's goalie skills competition yielded four goals in 11 shots and Roy three, also in 11 shots.
San Jose rookie Evgeni Nabokov was the losing goalie, allowing five third-period goals in 16 shots.
World goalie Roman Cechmanek had the only real hit in a check-free style, upending Paul Kariya late in the second period.
The game was tied at 3 after one period, but North America led all the way after Lemieux put them ahead.
Notes: The game averaged 14 goals in the three years of the North America against the World format. ... Gagne, who scored his second goal to make it 13-11, had not yet reached his first birthday when Bourque made his first All-Star appearance in 1981. ... There were no penalties called in the 1992 and 1994 games. ... Jason Allison and Sergei Samsonov, Guerin's linemates with the Bruins made their All-Star debuts. Samsonov assisted on Forsberg's goal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.