After a two-year hiatus, the NHL All-Star Skills Competition returned Saturday night at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Here’s a full recap of each event, along with highlights:
This event started with Phil Kessel beating Tyler Seguin by the narrowest of margins. Jonathan Drouin, Jiri Sekac and Zemgus Girgensons also won their heats, giving Team Foligno a clean sweep of the event.
Drouin led all skaters with the fastest time of 13.103.
Vladimir Tarasenko began the event with a normal-looking slap shot, which allowed St. Louis Blues teammate and goaltender Brian Elliott to take a selfie in the crease.
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Ryan Johansen of the hometown Columbus Blue Jackets began his first attempt by removing his jersey and revealing an Ohio State Buckeyes sweater. Columbus is the home of the Buckeyes, who won college football’s national championship on Jan. 12.
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Tarasenko and Elliott had a few more attempts and deserve praise for their creativity, including the use of a target attached to Elliott’s glove.
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Johansen also used a young fan in one of his attempts, which was a pretty cool moment.
Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek took Johansen’s move to another level and used the Calgary Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau, who’s stands at just 5-foot-9, in his final attempt.
The winner of the competition was determined by a fan vote using the hashtag #NHLBreakaway with the player’s name included. Johansen won, as expected.
Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan led off the event and needed more than 30 seconds to hit all four targets. He was visibly frustrated toward the end of the his attempt. Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf went next and was efficient, knocking down all four targets in a little more than 14 seconds. Blue Jackets winger Nick Foligno followed Getzlaf and took the lead at just over 13 seconds.
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron got off to a near-perfect start by hitting the first three targets in less than nine seconds, but it took him eight more seconds to finish the fourth.
The Vancouver Canucks’ Radim Vrbata and the New York Islanders’ John Tavares were unable to match Foligno’s time, but Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane beat it with a mark of 13.259. Jonathan Toews had a great chance to beat his teammate as the final shooter, but he hit three straight crossbars while trying to nail the final target.
Kane won the event to give Team Foligno a 10-1 lead after the first three competitions.
Skills Challenge Relay
The relay features several different challenges. The most difficult one is making saucer passes over a mini-barrier and into a small net, although Getzlaf made it look easy. The final challenge of the event involves the goalie shooting at the opposite net, but he has to lift the puck over a small barrier placed at his own blue line.
Team Foligno won Round 1 of the relay (using right-handed shooters) by more than 30 seconds. Team Toews easily won the second heat (featuring left-handed players), but Team Foligno earned a bonus point for having the fastest time and took a 12-2 lead.
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara missed 19 games because of an injury earlier in the season and wasn’t selected to the All-Star Game. As a result, he was not among the participants in the Hardest Shot event, which he won in 2012 with a record shot recorded at 108.8 mph.
Here’s a round-by-round recap of the event:
Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin (Team Foligno) defeats Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook
San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (Team Foligno) defeats Florida Panthers D-man Aaron Ekblad
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (Team Foligno) defeats Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk
Nashville Predators D-man Shea Weber (Team Toews) defeats Winnipeg Jets defensemanDustin Byfuglien
Weber won the competition with a shot of 108.5 mph, narrowly missing Chara’s record.
Team Foligno maintained its lead after three rounds of the shootout to win the All-Star Skills Competition 25-19.
The highlight of the event was Roberto Luongo’s incredible glove save to rob Montreal Canadiens winger Jiri Sekac of a goal.
The 2015 NHL All-Star Game is Sunday at Nationwide Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 pm.