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Fans celebrate after Eastern Conference's Alexei Kovalev, of the Montreal Canadiens, scored in the shootout against the Western Conference in the NHL hockey All-Star Game in Montreal on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

Kovalev takes NHL All-Star MVP award

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Dickinson,North Dakota 58602
The Dickinson Press
Kovalev takes NHL All-Star MVP award
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Alex Kovalev displayed his All-Star skills to their fullest to the delight of an extremely partisan crowd.

Kovalev was selected the MVP of the 57th NHL All-Star game Sunday night at the Bell Centre after he scored the deciding goal in the shootout to finish off a three-point performance that included a pair of breakaway goals.


"There's no way I'm going to miss that one," Kovalev said after he put a shot past Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo into the top right corner on the Eastern Conference's second shootout attempt.

Alexander Ovechkin scored on the East's next shot to seal the 12-11 win.

Kovalev won a truck to donate to charity as he became the Montreal Canadiens' fifth All-Star game MVP along with Jean Beliveau (1964), Henri Richard (1967), Peter Mahovlich (1976) and Mark Recchi (1997).

"Like I said in the beginning of the weekend, I'm not going to hide this, I want this badly so I was going for it," said Kovalev, the East captain in his third All-Star appearance.

The capacity crowd of 21,273 enthusiastically cheered on Kovalev's performance with linemates Eric Staal of Carolina and Evgeni Malkin of Pittsburgh, who entertained the crowd himself by juggling the puck on his stick blade and putting his stick between his legs to score his second-period goal.

Kovalev assisted on Staal's goal in the first before he scored his first of the game -- his second All-Star goal overall -- later in the period when he beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

The 36-year-old Russian got his second goal of the game against Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom in the second, an unassisted effort, once again on a breakaway.

"He really showed everyone tonight why he's a world-class player and he really came through for us," said Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek, one of four Canadiens elected to the starting lineup along with Kovalev, goalie Carey Price and defenseman Andrei Markov.