RALEIGH, N.C. - For one afternoon, at least, NHL stood for the No Hitting League as the 58th All-Star Game showcased its best players at the RBC Center.
With a loud, mostly red-clad crowd watching, defense was a rumor as Team Lidstrom, co-coached by the Flyers' Peter Laviolette, overcame an early four-goal deficit and outlasted Team Staal, 11-10.
The Flyers' Danny Briere had two goals to aid the winners, while Claude Giroux, who played a game-low 13 minutes, 16 seconds on a team coached by Chicago's Joel Quenneville, had a goal and an assist in a losing cause.
"It was fun, a great weekend - especially sharing this experience with my boys," said Briere, who had his three sons with him. "Having them on the bench, too, during the game [was special]. I had a blast."
Briere, who helped his team register the biggest comeback win in all-star history, said he liked seeing the normally intense Laviolette have a loose demeanor during the game.
"But at the same time, that's what makes him so good," said a smiling Briere of his coach's fiery manner. "It was fun to see him in a different mood."
Laviolette grinned when relayed Briere's comments.
"He's stuck with me the other way," he said. "There wasn't a lot of stress or pressure out here today."
Chicago's Patrick Sharp, a former Flyer who was not on this season's all-star ballot, was the MVP despite playing on the losing side. Sharp had a goal and two assists and played on a line with Giroux and St. Louis' David Backes (three assists).
"We had some pretty good chemistry going," Giroux said.
Briere said it took him a couple of shifts to adapt to a game that had no contact. Neither team was credited with a hit on the official score sheet.
"After having fun and being laid back for the past couple days, it's going to be different - a lot more intensity - especially on Tuesday against Tampa," said Briere after the teams combined for 91 shots and only one penalty. "It's a big game."
The dizzying first period ended tied at 4. Team Staal scored the first four goals in a 4:51 span - including one by Giroux - before Team Lidstrom netted the next four goals in 5:40.
Giroux, making his first all-star appearance, had made it 4-0 as he lifted a one-handed backhander past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Sharp set up the goal.
Every time Giroux was on the ice, his line seemed to have a great scoring chance. Giroux's performance, Briere said, should build his confidence.
"Hopefully he uses that to his advantage and realizes he's one of the best players in the NHL," said Briere, who is Giroux's Haddonfield housemate.
With the score tied at 6, Briere gave Team Lidstrom its first lead. Sent in alone on a pass from Vancouver's Henrik Sedin, Briere lifted the puck high and inside the right corner to put his team ahead, 7-6, with 4:29 left in the second period.
"With Claude having one early in the first period, I had to answer back before going home," Briere said.
Sedin made a crafty play to set up Briere's first goal.
"He held onto the puck, cut to the middle and I used my speed going wide," Briere said. "That's what happens when you play in this kind of game. You know there's always a chance the puck is going to come back to you at some point. You just try to get open, and that's what I did."
Midway through the third period, Briere converted another Sedin pass to make it 8-8. Chicago's Jonathan Toews (three points) scored 48 seconds later to give Team Lidstrom the lead for good at 9-8.
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (plus-7) of Detroit and Shea Weber (four assists, plus-6) of Nashville were paired together for the winners, who were also aided by Dallas' Loui Eriksson (four points) and Minnesota's Martin Havlat (three assists).
"They're world-class players," Briere said of the defensemen. "It's not really a surprise."
The combined 21 goals tied for fourth in NHL all-star history.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at phillynews.com.
Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.