The Hamilton Spectator
Horvat, Pettersson skate together one last time
Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson did indeed get a final ride together.
They were hoping for one more. Traded to the New York Islanders in a blockbuster deal at the start of the week, Horvat finished a hectic seven-day stretch alongside his former Vancouver Canucks teammate at the NHL’s 3-on-3 all-star tournament Saturday.
But the Pacific Division’s elimination in the semifinals by their counterparts from the Central meant they didn’t get a second opportunity.
“A little sad to know that was gonna be the last time we’re gonna skate together,” Horvat, Vancouver’s now ex-captain, said after setting up Pettersson in the Pacific’s 6-4 loss. “I’m glad we got to connect on a goal today and get one last shot. I’m going to miss him.
“He’s a great, great person, great player. He’s going to do a lot of great things.”
Detroit Red Wings centre Dylan Larkin had a hat trick for the Atlantic in a 7-5 victory over the Central in the final of the league’s showcase event.
Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk, who was named tournament MVP, scored once and set up another in the title game on the heels of a three-goal, two-assist performance in a 10-6 semifinal victory over the Metropolitan.
“It’s been an honour to play in front of (Panthers fans) this whole year,” Tkachuk said of the home support following his off-season trade from the Calgary Flames. “It’s great that the other players in the league can see what a great place this is.
“I’m as happy as can be here.” Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner registered three assists in the final.
“Great to be a part of it,” he said. “Fun, fun game out there … a couple of guys giving it their all.”
The Metropolitan’s defeat to the Atlantic meant Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin — his opposite with the Washington Capitals — had what could be their final all-star appearance together cut short.
“You try to balance it,” Crosby said when asked if he soaked up the atmosphere more at his fifth all-star game, and fourth with Ovechkin. “You try to go out there have fun and stay in the moment. Hopefully, it’s not our last one.”
“You never know if you’re gonna be in all-star game one more time,” added Ovechkin, who entered the league with Crosby in 2005 and combined for three goals Saturday.
“I was trying to get more fun … and try to get memories.”
Crosby was surprised to get a pass on a few occasions from his forever rival, and the man chasing Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record.
“I didn’t expect to get (the puck) back a couple of those times,” Crosby said with a laugh. “I was thinking I just did my job, gave it to him. I thought he was just gonna finish it, but he was kind enough to send me a couple of back. We had some nice goals.
“Definitely some moments there to remember on a personal level.”
Those moments weren’t lost on their opponents.
“Looking across at them playing together, you don’t see that very much,” Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki said. “It was really cool.”
Pettersson, meanwhile, said he and Horvat discussed their last hurrah.
“We talked about it: ‘Whatever happens, just make sure we score one together,’” said the Swede.
“And, yeah, we did.”