Crosby's squad enters annual gala as favorite

Crosby's squad enters annual gala as favorite 

Last year, the NHL All-Star Game introduced a new 3-on-3 format dividing the event into three 20-minute contests. Will this year’s reprisal prove to be just as thrilling?

The festivities in Los Angeles kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Metropolitan Division odds of +175 to capture the mini-tournament. The Central Division (+250), Pacific Division (+300) and Atlantic Division (+375) are less favorable options.

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Wayne Gretzky now serves as the bench boss on the Metro side, after original coach John Tortorella had to bow out to care for one of his dogs’ health. The Great One inherits an absolutely stacked roster, with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin leading the way. Evgeni Malkin, however, will miss the exhibition due to injury.

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The league’s leading scorer, Connor McDavid, serves as the captain for the Pacific Division. He’s joined by luminaries like Jeff Carter, Joe Pavelski and Drew Doughty. The first two selections in the 2016 draft, Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, are also preparing for their national coming-out parties.

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Picking the Metropolitan bunch almost seems like a copout, but no other division packs nearly as much firepower. We like Crosby’s crew to outlast the Pacific corps in the final.

 

SUNDAY NHL FREE PICK: METROPOLITAN DIVISION +175

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