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On This Date in Sports February 2, 2003: All-Star Shootout

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The NHL All-Star Game returns to the East-West format after experimenting with stars of the World facing the All-Stars of North America for five years. The game was played at the Office Depot Center in South Florida, home of the Panthers. Dany Heatley of the Atlanta Thrashers steals the show with four goals and an assist to lead the Eastern Conference. However, the West wins the game 6-5 in the first All-Star shootout. It was the first NHL All-Star Game since 1988 that went to overtime, and the first time it went to a shootout.

As with most All-Star Games, the NHL looked for new inventive ways to draw fan interest after the All-Star Game format lost its luster during the 1990s. In 1998, ahead of NHL players going to the Olympics, the NHL decided to have All-Stars from North America play against the All-Stars from the rest of the World. The format lost steam quickly, and the NHL returned to the traditional East versus West format in 2003, with North America winning three of the five games from 1997 to 2002. 

The NHL All-Star Game was held in South Florida for the first time in 2003, as the Office Depot Center in Sunrise hosted the best players in the league. Dany Heatley gave the Eastern Conference an early lead with a goal at 5:36 of the first period. The West would score the next two goals as Peter Forsberg of the Colorado Avalanche tied the game, and Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars gave the West a 2-1 lead. The East tied the game on Heatley's second goal of the game but still trailed 3-2 at intermission as Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild scored with 3:55 left in the first period. 

Dany Heatley continued to burn up the ice in the second period, completing the hat trick. However, the West answered to regain the lead, as former Panther Ed Jovanovski, who was representing the Vancouver Canucks scored off a deflection. Heatley would score a fourth goal, as the game went into the second intermission tied 4-4. 

Early in the third period, the West took a 5-4 lead as Al MacInnis of the St. Louis Blues beat Ottawa Senators goalie Patrick Lalime. The East answered again, with Dany Heatley setting up hometown hero OIli Jokinen to tie the game. Over the final ten minutes of regulation, Lalime and Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco kept the game even, as overtime was needed for the first time in 15 years to decide the NHL All-Star Game.

Earlier in the year, the NHL decided to add a shootout to the All-Star Game. After neither team scored in a five-minute sudden-death period, fans got to see the first shootout in NHL history. Alexei Kovalev of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the first shooter for the East and was stooped by Turco, while Lalime denied Detroit Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov. Dany Heatley was the second shooter for the East and found the back of the net and was matched by Marcus Naslund of the Canucks. In the third round of the shootout, Miroslav Satan of the Buffalo Sabres was unsuccessful, while Bill Guerin of the Stars gave the Western Conference the edge, going into the final two shooters. Following a miss by Olli Jokinen, Paul Kariya of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim clinched victory when he slid the puck by Lalime to give victory to the West.