|6:15 PM PT7:15 PM MT8:15 PM CT9:15 PM ET2:15 GMT10:15 7:15 PM MST9:15 PM EST6:15 UAE (+1)21:15 ETNaN:� BRT, January 26, 2019
SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California Attendance: 17,562
All-Stars in action Saturday night in San Jose
Elias Pettersson was barely 8 years old when Joe Pavelski scored in his first NHL game with the San Jose Sharks.
A dozen years later, Pavelski is still going strong in San Jose, and Pettersson has not only joined him at the highest professional level, but the elite centers will team up at the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose on Saturday night.
Pettersson and Pavelski are on the Pacific Division squad that will attempt to defend its All-Star title. The Pacific Division will take on the Central Division in the semifinals beginning at 8:15 p.m. ET. The winning team will face the winner between the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions.
Pettersson, a rookie who leads the Vancouver Canucks in scoring with 23 goals and 22 assists, said he's looking forward to the experience, which also includes Friday's skills competition beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
"For the most part, I think it will be fun to be able to see all the good players up close and maybe get to know some of them," he said.
For veterans like the 34-year-old Pavelski, who has 27 goals and 18 assists, the All-Star experience can seem less enticing compared to a restful weekend.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is preparing to play in his eighth All-Star Game. For the second straight year, he'll be the lone representative from Chicago on the Central Division team.
Kane might prefer to have a long weekend off his skates, but the NHL instituted a rule that requires players to attend the game or face a one-game suspension when the regular season resumes on Monday.
Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is the only player who has, so far, opted to skip the All-Star Game and accept the suspension.
"I think a lot more guys would take the option if that wasn't the rule," Kane said. "That's the way it is. Guys don't really want to miss games, so they're going to go to the All-Star Game and participating in the weekend so they're not missing a game."
Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson would have a legitimate reason for sitting this one out, having missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, but instead he'll play in his home arena Saturday night.
Karlsson participated in Friday night's skills competition, notching a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Premier Passing event.
From the Eastern Conference, Buffalo Sabres forwards Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner will be making their second appearances in the showcase. For the first time since 2007, the Sabres will have more than one representative.
Skinner said his selection is a reflection on the solid season the Sabres are having, particularly over the first eight weeks, when they started 17-6-2.
"You're not going to have a good season unless your teammates are playing well. That's the cool part," Skinner said. "My family was thinking about it more than me. It just shows the passion and how much the fans love the Sabres. It's a pretty cool feeling."
Colorado Avalanche center and Central Division captain Nathan MacKinnon will not play due to a bruised left foot. It's unclear when MacKinnon was hurt, but he took a puck off the inside of his foot, and had "a couple" MRIs on Thursday before sitting out Friday night's skills competition.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby also missed the skills competition but is expected to play Saturday despite an illness.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 26, 2019