January 4, 2009 / 3:01 AM / 11 years ago

Canadiens dominate East's All-Star starting lineup

Montreal Canadiens Alexei Kovalev (27) celebrates a goal, April 24, 2008. Surrounding Kovalev are Christopher Higgins (R), Andrei Markov (79) and Andrei Kostitsyn (L) . REUTERS/Shaun Best

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Players from hosts Montreal will dominate the starting Eastern Conference lineup for the January 25 NHL All-Star Game, the National Hockey League announced Saturday.

Canadiens grabbed four of the six starting slots after fans voted defensemen Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek, forward Alex Kovalev and netminder Carey Price to start in the 57th annual classic, the NHL said on its website (www.nhl.com).

They will be joined by leading vote-getters Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Three players each from Chicago and Anaheim will start for the West.

Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be joined by Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell. Anaheim forward Ryan Getzlaf, defenseman Scott Niedermayer and netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere will complete the West starters.

Seven players will be All-Star starters for the first time — Malkin, Komisarek and Price for the East and Kane, Toews, Getzlaf and Giguere for the West.

Crosby, the Pittsburgh captain and three-time All-Star starter selection, received the most votes in fan balloting with more than 1.7 million votes. Malkin, the NHL’s scoring leader, had the second-highest total (1.585 million).

Montreal’s Price, Markov, Komisarek and Kovalev also received more than 1.3 million votes.

Kane and Toews were the top vote-getters in the West, Kane receiving 917,551 votes and Toews 809,599.

Writing by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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