SUNRISE, Fla. — Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin had a hat trick, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitchell Marner had three assists and the Atlantic Division topped the Central Division 7-5 in the All-Star Game final on Saturday.
All-Star Game MVP Matthew Tkachuk — playing alongside his brother Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators — had seven points on the day, after a five-point outburst in a semifinal win over the Metropolitan Division as he represented the hometown Florida Panthers for the first time. Larkin had five goals in the Atlantic’s two games.
“We wanted to get a win for the home crowd, the fans,” Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki said. “They did a good job of cheering on the Atlantic Division. We just wanted to put on a good show for them.”
Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller, Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson and Colorado Avalanche teammates Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen all had goals for the Central in the final. Makar also had two assists.
It was the first time the Atlantic won the All-Star Game, after six previous attempts in the divisional format. The 11 players — nine skaters and two goalies — on the Atlantic roster split $1 million for the win.
“It was so much fun,” said Larkin, who had five goals in the two games. “I’m proud of how we won it. What a great group of guys … it was just a great weekend.”
Matthew Tkachuk has now been on the winning team in both of his All-Star appearances, and both times, he enjoyed the comforts of home. He helped the Pacific win the 2020 All-Star title in St. Louis, his hometown and one of the many spots that his father — Keith Tkachuk, who was in the crowd Saturday — played during his career.
Florida captain Aleksander Barkov didn’t thrill the home fans like his teammate, Tkachuk, did, but posted an assist in the title game.
Barkov and the Panthers, who were the No. 1 seed in the NHL postseason last year but find themselves on the outside of the playoff cutoff line this season, will stay right in town and open up the season’s second half on Monday at home vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.