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All-Star invite for Ovechkin

ALEXANDER Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals was added to the Eastern Conference's All-Star team after failing to earn a spot through a ballot by fans.

The NHL's Most Valuable Player will be making his third consecutive All-Star appearance, the league said.

Ovechkin is tied for the league lead on 27 goals with Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres and Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Russian will be joined at the January 25 game in Montreal by All-Star debutants Vanek and Carter.

The East lineup includes Pittsburgh Penguins pair Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, both voted to the starting six.

Three members of the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins, goaltender Tim Thomas, defenseman Zdeno Chara and center Marc Savard, were among the 15 players added on Thursday.All three played in last season's game, Savard scoring the winner at 19:39 of the third period while Thomas stopped 14-of-18 shots in the same session to record the victory.

The East will also feature two former All-Star MVPs, last year's winner Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators winger Dany Heatley who took the honour after scoring four goals in 2003. Other debutants include New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist, New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit and New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise.


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