ATLANTA (AP) -- Eric Staal got the offense started for the
Eastern Conference, and was right there at the finish, too.
Staal won the most valuable player award in the N-H-L All-Star
game tonight, finishing with two goals and an assist in the East's
8-7 win over the Western Conference.
Staal, the Carolina center, helped set up Marc Savard's winning
goal with 20.9 seconds left.
Staal ended a streak of M-V-P honors going to players on the
losing team four straight years. Rick Nash, who had three goals for
the West, and Alex Ovechkin, who had two goals for the East, also
were strong contenders for the award.
Staal is the first Hurricanes player to be selected for the
All-Star team in consecutive years since the franchise moved from
Hartford to Carolina.
Staal may be best known for his endurance in Carolina. He played
in his 218th consecutive game for the Hurricanes on January tenth,
matching the second-longest streak in franchise history.
Staal scored the East's first goal, shortly after Nash made
N-H-L history by scoring only 12 seconds into the game. Staal
converted from the right circle 1:20 into the game, tying it at 1.
The West erased a four-goal deficit and led 7-6 before Staal's
second goal, on an assist from Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk, tied it