By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Once again, the annual NHL All-Star Weekend festivities have come and gone, but not without some entertaining and memorable moments. From the amazing performance of Kendall Coyne Schofield in the Fastest Skating Competition to Auston Matthews removing his jersey to reveal a Patrick Marleau Leafs jersey to win over the hometown, San Jose Sharks crowd to David Pastrnak bringing out his inner Ray Bourque to win the Accuracy Shooting Challenge, the 2019 All-Star Weekend will be remembered and I’m here to recap all of it.
Friday, January 25th – Skills Competitions
Helmets off, hair flowing, high speeds and smiles were the highlights of the Skills Competitions. The players that were selected by the fans in the months leading into the All-Star festivities were each handed one of six competitions that tested their skating speed, passing skills, and hardest shot. (All results courtesy of Sportsnet.ca)
First off, we had the Fastest Skating Competition, an event that has been dominated by Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid for the past two years. Due to an injury to Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, the NHL allowed U.S. Women’s National Team member Kendall Coyne to skate with the NHLers. She started the event with an amazing 14.346 seconds final time, a final time faster than Coyotes forward Clayton Keller.
Jack Eichel had the fastest time, finishing the race with a time of 13.582 seconds, only for McDavid to cross the final line in 13.378 seconds to win this event for the third consecutive year, the only player in NHL history to do so. Here are the final results for the Fastest Skating Competition.
- Kendall Coyne (U.S. Women’s National Team) – 14.346 seconds
- Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars) – 13.914 seconds
- Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes) – 14.526 seconds
- Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks) – 13.930 seconds
- Cam Atkinson (Columbus Blue Jackets) – 14.152 seconds
- Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres) – 13.582 seconds
- Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders) – 13.780 seconds
- Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) – 13.378 seconds
Up next, eight players were to go through a series of challenges where puck control was the main goal. Last season, Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau won the competition and he would repeat, like McDavid did, dancing through a set of pucks and then lifting the puck through three rings before potting it in the empty net in only 27.045 seconds. The only man close to beating that time was Patrick Kane, who was just over a second slower than Gaudreau.
- Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) – 28.611 seconds
- Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks) – 43.622 seconds
- Jeff Skinner (Buffalo Sabres) – 35.407 seconds
- Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) 32.161 seconds
- Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche) – 33.425 seconds
- Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers) – 30.270 seconds
- John Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs) – 35.210 seconds
- Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) – 27.045 seconds
For the most part, the All-Star Weekend aims to highlight the forwards and defensemen who can score goals with the best of them, leaving the goaltenders looking like non-All-Stars, especially in the 3-on-3 play. However, the NHL lets the goalies have their time to shine in the Save Streak event, where players from the opposite division shoot in a penalty shot format and the goaltender to make the most consecutive saves in a row, wins.
Andrei Vasilevskiy held the longest streak with eight saves in a row, but on the final possible chance to beat it, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist shut down David Pastrnak (multiple times to be exact) and the rest of the Atlantic division twelve times in a row to take the victory in the Save Streak event.
- Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators) vs. Pacific Division – Longest save streak: 2
- Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning) vs. Metropolitan Division – Longest save streak: 8
- John Gibson (Anaheim Ducks) vs. Central Division – Longest save streak: 3
- Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals) vs. Atlantic Division – Longest save streak: 1
- Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild) vs. Pacific Division – Longest save streak: 7
- Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings) vs. Metropolitan Division – Longest save streak: 2
- Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas Golden Knights) vs. Central Division – Longest save streak: 6
- Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers) vs. Atlantic Division – Longest save streak: 12
The All-Star Weekend saw the return of the dreaded Premier Passing event that many players, (Drew Doughty especially), due to the difficulty level of the neutral zone. Players had to fire a saucer pass over barriers into small nets at different distances and then move on to fire low passes to a set of targets that often changed colour at the worst times making it frustrating to watch and for the players to compete in.
With that said, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl won the competition, running through the event in 1:09:088, beating out Sebastian Aho by eight seconds. Draisaitl made the competition look easy compared to the other players and his win made teammate Connor McDavid quite proud.
Saturday, January 26th – All-Star Game
Game One – Central Division vs Pacific Division
The first game of the mini-tournament between the four NHL divisions was about as one-sided of a hockey game as you can get. In the first of two ten-minute periods, the Central Division All-Stars led by the Colorado Avalanche scored seven goals on nine shots on Ducks goalie John Gibson while Erik Karlsson scored the lone goal as the two teams entered the second period with a 7-1 Central lead.
Gaudreau, Karlsson, and Burns would put on three more goals for their team but the Central All-Stars scored three of their own in the final period to win 10-4 the final score. The win eliminated the hometown San Jose Sharks and the Pacific Division while the Central prepares for the winner of the Metropolitan/Atlantic game.
Top 5 Players of Game One:
- CEN F Gabriel Landeskog (COL) – 3 Goals, 1 Assist
- CEN F Ryan O’Reilly (STL) – 1 Goal, 3 Assists
- CEN D Roman Josi (NSH) – 1 Goal, 3 Assists
- CEN G Pekka Rinne (NSH) – 8 Saves on 9 Shots
- PAC D Erik Karlsson (SJS) – 2 Goals
Game Two – Atlantic Division vs Metropolitan Division
David Pastrnak and the Atlantic Division looked to move on to the Championship game against the Central division and it produced one of the most entertaining games of the weekend thus far. Back-and-forth action by the stars of the Eastern Conference created a close game of 3-on-3.
The Metro opened with two early goals from Sidney Crosby and Seth Jones only for the line of Pastrnak, Skinner, and Eichel to come back for the Atlantic. Pastrnak made a beautiful backhand saucer pass right on the tape of Eichel who buried it, making it a 2-1 game.
That wouldn’t be the only time that Pastrnak would get on the scoresheet. Less than a minute into the second frame, Pastrnak makes another solid feed to Jeff Skinner this time who scores, tying the game at three apiece. This line of two Sabres and a Bruin was successful for the Atlantic division but with four straight goals in the second, the Metropolitan Divison would advance to the Final with a 7-4 win. Bruins forward David Pastrnak’s weekend ends with two assists and an Accuracy Challenge win.
Top 5 Players of Game Two:
- MET F Sidney Crosby (PIT) – 2 Goals, 1 Assist
- MET D Kris Letang (PIT) – 1 Goal (GWG), 1 Assist
- MET G Braden Holtby (WSH) – 11 Saves on 13 Shots
- ATL F David Pastrnak (BOS) – 2 Assists
- ATL F John Tavares (TOR) – 1 Goal, 1 Assist