All-Stars shine at NHL Skills Competition

  • February 07, 2022, 12:53 PM (update February 19, 2022, 11:20 AM)
  • Alex Wright
All-Stars shine at NHL Skills Competition Courtesy: NHL.com Alex Pietrangelo takes his shot during the Breakaway Challenge

 

On the night before the NHL All-Star Game, the all-stars took to the ice at T-Mobile Arena for the Skills Competition.

 

The event of the night was the Breakaway Challenge, where players had a breakaway shot and were scored by the judges for creativity. 

 

Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo won the event with a score of 64 points for his shot that featured neon lights on his jersey and the Knight Line drummers, even though he missed the shot. 

 

Actor John Hamm, one of the judges, gave Pietrangelo a score of 19 points, out of a possible 10. Hamm is a St. Louis Blues fan and Pietrangelo was the captain of the Blues when they won the Stanley Cup. 

 

"I'm not saying anything, he gave me 19," Pietrangelo told reporters after the event. "I'm not going to say anything. We have a pretty good history together. We knew each other pretty well. We've shared a few cold ones over the years, let's just say that."

 

Anaheim Ducks rookie Trevor Zegras honored the movie “Dodgeball” with his jersey. Zegras was then blindfolded and did a 360-spin and shot the puck in the back of the net. 

 

New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes finished in second with a score of 59 after he conducted a “magic trick” that brought out a “mini Jack Hughes” that scored a goal. Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat finished third (54) for his “Hangover” themed outfit and goal. 

 

The night began with St. Louis Blues center Jordan Kyrou pulling off an upset as he won the Fastest Skater competition with a time of 13.550

 

"It's pretty cool obviously to be out there with all those high-end guys like that," Kyrou told the media after winning the event. "When we were standing there and they were announcing our names, I was a little nervous for sure.

 

Connor McDavid, the three-time winner of the event, came in fourth place with a time of 13.690.

 

The goalies took center stage for the Save Streak competition. The Atlantic Division team of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilesky combined to make nine consecutive saves. 

 

The Central Division goalies of Cam Talbot (Minnesota) and Juuse Saros (Nashville) saved their first five shots, but no one was able to get any closer to the mark set by Campbell and Vasilesky. 

 

"It was really cool," Campbell said. "Seeing 'Vasy' at the other end, he's been so dominant in the league, especially in shootouts over however long he's been in the league. We just had a lot of fun together and we set the bar and I was trying to do my part."

 

The scene shifted to the Bellagio Fountains for the Fountain Face-Off, one of the new events to the Skills Competition. 

 

Players had to hit four of the five targets in the fastest time, while standing on a platform in the middle of the Bellagio Fountains, with the two fastest going to the final round. 

 

Columbus Blue Jacket defenseman Zach Werenski took the win, hitting all five targets with a time of 25.634 seconds, over Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi. 

 

"That was awesome, " Werenski said. "I think that was the coolest part when the big fountains were going off and how loud they were. You could feel the mist from them a little bit. It was an awesome event they put on.”

 

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone finished with a time of 24.696 seconds in the first round, finishing in sixth.  

 

Back at T-Mobile Arena, Lightning defenseman, Victor Hedman won the Hardest Shot competition with his second shot going 103.2 MPH. Hedman’s first shot went for 102.7 MPH, which was the second-fastest shot. 

 

New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech finished in second with his shot going 102.2 MPH. Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Wilson finished third with 101.1 MPH, and San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier finished fourth with 100.1 MPH. 

 

Another new event at the Skills Competition was the Las Vegas NHL 21 in ‘22, where players shot the puck at playing cards and tried to get a hand of 21, or as close, without going over. 

 

Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski took the win, defeating notable participants such as Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Maple Leaf's center Auston Mathews. 

 

"I guess all of us did find a way to get to 21, " Pavelski said as all five participants scored 21 in the first round, forcing an extra round where the highest shot won. 

 

"At times it felt like it was not easy, but there were some pretty simple shots it felt like, and then there were somewhere you're looking and you have to go up high, you didn't know how the puck was going to react."

 

The Accuracy Shooting competition closed out the night of events at T-Mobile. Caroline Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho took the victory, hitting all four targets, on four shots, with a time of 10.937 seconds.

 

Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault placed eighth in the event with a time of 27.782.

 

During the event, Marchessault picked the Pacific Division’s opponent for the All-Star game by random draw. The Pacific Division will play the Metropolitan Division, with the Atlantic facing the Central. The winner of each of those games will face-off for the All-Star to determine the winner of the event.

Alex Wright

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