ST. PAUL, Minn. - Anaheim’s Joffrey Lupul scored three goals and Colorado’s Philippe Sauve stopped 18 of 21 shots for the Western Conference in a 7-3 victory over the Eastern Conference in the YoungStars game Saturday night.
Lupul, the Mighty Ducks’ first-round draft pick in 2002 who is ninth among NHL rookies with eight goals, scored twice in the third period.
But Sauve, the Avalanche’s backup to David Aebischer, was selected as most valuable player for his performance in a game where defense — just as in the All-Star game — is nonexistent. The YoungStars play four-on-four, with 10-minute running periods.
Lupul had no problem conceding to a goaltender.
“I don’t envy those guys one bit,” Lupul said. “Point blank, breakaways or two-on-zero, you name it, they saw it tonight. They deserve a lot of credit just for standing in there.”
Sauve, a rookie who is 7-4-2 this season, was pleased — yet realistic — about what he did.
“They’re not many All-Star games with that few goals scored,” Sauve said. “But I admit I was beaten a few times, and there were a lot of lucky saves.”
Andrew Raycroft, Boston’s rookie who’s in the top 10 in the NHL in victories, save percentage and goals-against average, stopped only 16 of 23 shots.
Pierre Marc-Bouchard, Minnesota’s first-round draft pick in 2002 (eighth overall) and a second-year center for the hometown Wild, received the loudest roar. Raycroft lost control of the puck in the corner in the third, and Bouchard stole it for an easy goal on an empty net and a 6-2 West lead.
“I got a little bit of a gift,” Bouchard said.
Raffi Torres (Edmonton), Nikolai Zherdev (Columbus) and Christian Ehrhoff (San Jose) added goals for the West, which led 2-1 after the first period and 4-2 after two.
Eric Staal (Carolina), Ryan Malone (Pittsburgh) and Matt Stajan (Toronto) scored for the East. Malone played in college at nearby St. Cloud State.
“Hopefully,” Stajan joked, “the loss won’t be too hard to take.”
Staal nearly tied it with his shot that hit the post in the second period, but the West took a 4-2 lead on a short wrist shot by Lupul set up by San Jose’s Jonathan Cheechoo — who had three assists.
“After the first one, I was hoping to get one back to Cheechoo,” Lupul said. “I feel kind of bad that he set me up so well and I didn’t get one to him.”
Montreal’s Michael Ryder, who leads all NHL rookies with 40 points, had an assist for the East. Not quite the impression he was hoping for.
“Probably, some of the guys will give me a hard time about some of the mistakes I made,” Ryder said.
Runner up for biggest cheer was East defenseman Paul Martin, a rookie with New Jersey who played at the University of Minnesota and grew up just outside the Twin Cities in Elk River. Martin had an assist.
The teams were coached by a pair of former Minnesota North Stars, who moved to Dallas in 1993.
Lou Nanne, who played 11 years with the North Stars before becoming their general manager from 1977-88, was in charge of the West.
Tom Reid, who spent a total of 11 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and the North Stars from 1967-78 and currently serves as radio analyst for the Wild, coached the East.
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