This afternoon, the 2017 NHL All-Star Skills Competition brought the game’s best and brightest to Staples. And we know you were just tuning in to see how fast McDavid skates and Weber shoots, there were other highlights. (Mostly for the Pacific, even though they didn’t win in the end.) Here’s how it all went down:
SKILLS CHALLENGE RELAY
Jeff Carter took three tries to hit from the sharpest one-timer angle and Drew Doughty struggled with the mini-net passing, as the Pacific took just over two minutes to complete the skills relay.
They were shut out along with the Atlantic Division, who lost to the Metropolitan’s near-perfect showing despite having a better time than the Central’s winning time in the other heat.
Central 1, Pacific 0, Atlantic 0, Metropolitan 2
The Wayne Train stops at nothing! pic.twitter.com/y6RwtrjhWE— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 29, 2017
NHL FOUR-LINE CHALLENGE
Brent Burns and Mike Smith stole the show as the Pacific won by a (totally real) score of 23-1-1-0. Burns went top-corner from center ice, and Mike Smith subbed in for Bo Horvat on the second full-length shot. His shot hit the five-hole, earning 20 points for on the scoreboard and one point in the standings. Ryan Suter and Wayne Simmonds each earned points.
Central 1, Pacific 1, Atlantic 0, Metropolitan 2
Mike Smith: Best sniper in the Pacific Division. pic.twitter.com/AmGO0IAZFx— #LAKings (@LAKings) January 29, 2017
Kyle Okposo made up for a shaky relay performance by defeating defending champ John Tavares, while Connor McDavid notched a Pacific point. Auston Matthews went 4-for-5, but Sidney Crosby did the same and did it faster for a competition-best 10.73 seconds. Jeff Carter went 4-for-7 (after hitting the high targets on his first two shots) to squeak out a one-second win over Patrick Kane, much to Staples’ delight.
Central 1, Pacific 3, Atlantic 1, Metropolitan 4
Jeff Carter in the accuracy challenge pic.twitter.com/UOXFOJUFAg— Robyn (@robyn_jftc) January 29, 2017
As expected, McDavid trounced the field, completing his initial heat in 13.02 seconds. He was unable to top Dylan Larkin’s full-lap time of 13.172 seconds, but he didn’t get the running start that Larkin had and still came within two-tenths of a second. Vincent Trocheck, Nikita Kucherov, and Patrick Laine (after an Official Booth Review) took home the other points for winning their heats.
Central 2, Pacific 5, Atlantic 3, Metropolitan 4
Patrick Laine’s 101.7 MPH shot set the early standard and defeated Brent Burns, but was there any doubt who’d win this one? Weber didn’t hit his usual standard, but his 102.8 MPH shot earned the bonus point. Doughty was just as pessimistic as Burns was this morning about his Hardest Shot chances, but his 94.6 MPH shot was enough to defeat Nathan MacKinnon.
Central 3, Pacific 6, Atlantic 5, Metropolitan 5
The Pacific Division and the Atlantic Division moved into the finals, with the Atlantic getting a tiebreaker over the Metropolitan. More importantly, the Central Division finished last. WOO.
Ryan Kesler’s son was the only shooter to get one past Carey Price, while Brad Marchand and Shea Weber both went five-hole (how ironic!) on Mike Smith. No one else found the net until Discover Bonus Import Shooter Sidney Crosby beat Martin Jones to earn two points for the Atlantic, and when Discover Bonus Import Shooter Patrick Kane was turned away by Tuukka Rask, the Atlantic clinched their title. Anti-climactic? Yeah, extremely. But Burns and Carter again brought life back to the festivities as Burns went between his own legs (and hit the bar) while Carter, the final shooter, got an ovation before being denied.
As winners, the Atlantic Division got to choose their opponent and timeslot, and they decided to go within their conference, facing the Met in the second game. That means Central vs. Pacific first, a rematch of last year’s first game.