NHL All-Star Game: Deadliest Duos
The NHL All-Star game has its critics, and for good reason.
Whether it's the over-the-top creativity in the skills competition, or the immense lack of intensity in the game, the event leaves fans excited to get back to the regular season.
Dangles at the All-Star game are impressive, but what fans really appreciate is the ability to do those moves while avoiding bone-crushing checks.
One fun thing about the event, however, is the ability to see two players find chemistry that they'd otherwise never have the opportunity to discover.
It happens every time, and each deadly duo is as hard to predict as the last.
2003: Dany Heatley, Olli Jokinen
After playing the NHL All-Star Game in the North America vs. World format for five years, it was reverted back to the East vs. West format in the 2002-03 season.
By today's standards, the 6-5 shootout win would be considered low-scoring for an all-star game, but that doesn't mean it didn't have its stars.
Back when Dany Heatley and Olli Jokinen were among the deadliest snipers in the game, they teamed up in the 53rd NHL All-Star Game for an incredible performance.
Heatley scored four goals and added an assist, as well as scoring the only goal in the shootout for the East.
Olli Jokinen assisted on three of Heatley's goals, and followed up to score a goal to tie the game late.
Their other line mate, Jaromir Jagr, picked up three assists as well.
The East would eventually lose the game, after Markus Naslund, Bill Guerin and Paul Kariya all found the back of the net in the shootout.
2004: Joe Sakic, Markus Naslund
Before the 04-05 lockout, Markus Naslund was a true star in the NHL, leading the West Coast Express along side Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison. With the numbers he used to put up, who would have guessed that he'd be the first of the three to retire?
In the 2004 All-Star Game, Naslund found himself on a line with Joe Sakic and Todd Bertuzzi.
In yet another low-scoring, 6-4 game, Sakic managed to get a hat trick, with Naslund assisting on each goal.
Unfortunately, their incredible chemistry wasn't enough, as the East prevailed.
2007: Joe Sakic, Rick Nash
After a two-season hiatus due to the lockout and Olympics, Joe Sakic still found himself dominating the All-Star event, this time with a new partner.
Joe Sakic and Rick Nash took over the game, leading the West to a 12-9 victory.
Their combined eight points and eight shots was the highlight of the night, although the line of Heatley, Marian Hossa and Daniel Briere came close to stealing the show.
2008: Alexander Ovechkin, Martin St. Louis
The 07-08 All-Star Game was one that didn't have any overly dominant lines.
One thing that we know about Martin St. Louis, is that if you put him next to a goal scorer, you're going to see some magic. We saw just that in the event, when St. Louis played along side Alexander Ovechkin.
Ovechkin scored two goals in the game, both assisted by St. Louis.
As it turned out, their chemistry came in handy as the East won a close game by a score of 8-7.
Luckily for their respective clubs, Ovechkin plays with an equally perfect passer, and St. Louis with an equally potent scorer. If that weren't the case, matching these two up for an 82-game display wouldn't be out of the question.
2009: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton
Lucky for Sharks fans, boring for the rest of us.
In the 08-09 All-Star Game, the players that clicked the best were Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, a deadly duo that was anything but new.
The two both found the score sheet on three separate goals, but weren't able to pick up a win, as the East eventually won 12-11 in a shootout.
2011: Loui Eriksson, Jonathan Toews
After a year off for the Olympics, the NHL All-Star Game was back with a different look.
As the East vs. West era came to an end, the NHL introduced the draft format, the same it is today.
While this allows for an East/West deadly duo to emerge—an all-Western line was the one that stood out.
Team Lidstrom ended up taking the game 11-10, led by Loui Eriksson and Jonathan Toews. The two combined for three goals, seven points and eight shots. Their linemate, Martin Havlat, also picked up three assists in the affair.
As two young players, there's always a chance that we could see them playing on the same line 82-games per season, although it's a long shot.
2012: Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa
Sunday night, the two Marians stole the show.
Marian Hossa got the first assist on two of Gaborik's three goals, and netted one himself.
Their performance, with the help of Pavel Datsyuk, led Team Chara to a 12-9 victory.
With Hossa being locked up until his 95th birthday, it's safe to assume that we'll only be seeing this deadly duo at All-Star and international events, as the two are fellow Slovakians.
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