Just seven months ago, baseball fans at Milwaukee's Miller Park jeered when informed the All-Star Game would end in a tie. At a sold-out Office Depot Center, 19,250 fans roared when told this contest would be decided by a shootout.
"I think there should be a winner, that's why the tempo went up," Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier said. "If we knew it was going to be a tie game, it wouldn't have been fun.
"It was good for the fans, too. The fans got into it in the last five, seven minutes, in OT and in the shootout."
After a five-minute overtime failed to produce a winner, the 53rd NHL All-Star Game was decided by an Olympic-style shootout.
Former All-Star MVP Bill Guerin of the Stars beat Ottawa Senators goaltender Patrick Lalime between the pads to put the West on top and Turco got his stick on a shot by Miroslav Satan of the Buffalo Sabres.
Kariya snapped a wrister over Lalime's glove and the West team emptied the bench in celebration after Jokinen put a shot off the left goalpost.
"You can't argue with the excitement of the way this game went tonight," Turco said. "I think the league and certainly all the players that were involved were pretty happy with the ending."
The miss was the only negative for Jokinen, who delighted the hometown crowd with three assists and forced the fourth overtime in All-Star history when he beat Turco to tie the game.
"It's a special feeling to play in the All-Star Game and it's even more special when you're playing in front of your home crowd," Jokinen said. "They were pretty loud there today and, hopefully, they continue and we can build a fan base here in South Florida with this game."
"I punched the clock and I said 20 minutes and I'm outta here," Turco said. "I expected to get embarrassed a little bit, but it was intense. It was a great third period. We traded goals, we came down to the end and the place is going bananas."
Although it came in a losing effort, Heatley gave a hint of historic things to come just 5:39 into the first period.
After losing the puck, he took it back from Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames, dragged it past former Norris Trophy winner Rob Blake of the Colorado Avalanche and wristed a shot past future Hall of Famer Patrick Roy.
Jokinen's pass from behind the net hit Jagr and bounced into the air, where Heatley bunted it past Roy.
Less than 24 hours after winning the fastest skater event at the SuperSkills Competition, Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild put the West back in front 4:05 before the first intermission.
Nikolai Khabibulin of the Tampa Bay Lightning stopped a slap shot by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Mathieu Schneider, but Gaborik put the rebound between the goaltender's pads for his first career All-Star goal.
A year ago, Khabibulin should have won All-Star MVP honors after a scoreless third period. He was beaten three times on 14 shots in this one but stopped Teemu Selanne, Kariya and Iginla off two on ones to keep the East in the game.
The Heatley show resumed early in the second period. Jokinen took the puck at the side of the net off a turnover by Schneider and passed in front to the 2002 Calder Trophy winner. Heatley put a wrister past the glove of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Jocelyn Thibault for the 13th hat trick in All-Star history.
At 22 years, 12 days, he also became the youngest to accomplish the feat, beating Wayne Gretzky's record by one day. But the Atlanta Thrashers' winger was not through.
After Canucks derfenseman Ed Jovanovski gave the West another lead, Heatley was the trailer on a three on two, got a pass from Jokinen in the slot and drifted to the left faceoff circle before snapping a shot under the crossbar.
Heatley, the game's MVP, joined Mike Gartner (1993), Vincent Damphousse (1991), Mario Lemieux (1990) and Gretzky (1983) as the only players with four goals in an All-Star Game. His assist on Jokinen's tying tally gave him five points, one short of Lemieux's All-Star record.
"It was fun," Heatley said. "I was pretty relaxed. After I got the first one, I was pretty happy. After that, they kept going in. I kept cruising around and shooting the puck."
He also took some playful heat from Jeremy Roenick of the Philadephia Flyers.
"I was actually getting on the older guys to help the younger guys out," Roenick joked. "We had to try to pull our weight a little bit. (Heatley) just carried a bunch of All-Stars. I think that's really impressive."
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