Thirty-two NHL players got together in Atlantic City Saturday night and gave fans a little more than hockey to cheer for.
A charity hockey game — dubbed Operation Hat Trick — featured Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur, Brad Richards and a host of other NHL stars from all over the league and helped raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
There was no lockout at the historic Boardwalk Hall as 10,792 hockey-hungry fans watched a battle between the New York Rangers and a team comprised of their Atlantic division rivals.
The "New York" team, captained by forward Richards, included nine of his Rangers teammates while the Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell wore the "C" the "New Jersey/Philadelphia side.
Lundqvist — facing his familiar counterpart Brodeur — made 56 saves to lead his squad to a 10-6 victory.
"It seemed like he was in playoff shape," said Hartnell. "And we were joking after the first period there that now the Rangers will want to play really bad because he's on fire right now."
The Rangers goaltender — who flew in from Sweden just for the event — had no problems with that scenario.
"I want to play real games," Lundqvist said after the game. "But it was probably the best feeling I've had in a long time."
The sold-out crowd — mostly Flyers fans — showed support for both the Sandy relief effort and the sport which has already cancelled the first 70 days of the season and is still in a lockout as the owners and players do battle off the ice.
Prior to the game, 25 of the players met with union executive director Don Fehr at Caesars Hotel for a lockout update — one day after the league announced the cancellation of the All-Star Game and all regular season games until Dec. 14.
"We want hockey!," fans chanted in the first period. Some who might lose more than an NHL hockey season.