NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Honda NHL Skills Competition was live from Bridgestone Arena tonight, where the Eastern Conference All-Stars dominated the Western Conference, winning by a score of 29-12. It was a night of excitement, impressive skill, and broken records in Nashville. Here's an event-by-event rundown of the night's competitions.
Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater
The first heat of the Fastest Skater contest saw Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings take on Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi. Larkin beat Josi with a time of 12.894, which would later prove to be the fastest time of the competition. The second heat saw Brandon Saad defeat Matt Duchene with a time of 13.634. The third round was won by Edmonton's Taylor Hall, whose 13.654 bested Ottawa's Erik Karlsson. The final heat was won by Kris Letang, who posted a 14.081 to beat Dustin Byfuglien.
The real excitement came after the four rounds, though, when Dylan Larkin was given the chance to win an extra point or the East if he could beat Mike Gartner's all-time record for fastest time around the rink set in 1996. Larkin accepted, and shattered the record with a time of 13.172, even after stumbling in the third turn.
Running score: East 5, West 1.
Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge
The Breakaway challenge saw Brandon Saad, Evegeni Kuznetsov, and PK Subban compete for the East, and James Neal, Matt Duchene, and Brent Burns go for the West. Each shooter got two attempts, and the winner of the competition was chosen via fan vote on Twitter using individual hashtags.
The highlights of the competition came mostly from Burns. On his first attempt, he and teammate Joe Pavelski brought out their kids to take the shots for them. "Lil Pavs" brought the puck down before drop-passing to "Lil Burns," who put it home. On Burns' second attempt, he made a bit of fun of himself, donning a Chewbacca mask and playing the Star Wars theme song over the PA system before beating Corey Schneider with a slapshot.
Another highlight came from when brought out country music star Dierks Bentley to take his second attempt. Bently put away a Neal pass with a rather impressive shot, which was a hit with the hometown fans.
However, the winner of the contest was Subban, who took his second attempt dressed as Jaromir Jagr, donning a Jagr jersey and wearing a fake mullet to boot. Subban won the fan vote on Twitter, giving the East another point.
Running score: East 6, West 1.
DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting
Patrick Kane shot first for the Western Conference, looking to defend his title from last season's contest. However, Kane failed to deliver, posting a time of 20 seconds even, and lost to John Tavares who hit all four targets in just over 12 seconds, winning the East another point. Tavares' time would hold up as the best of the competition, earning a bonus point for the East as well.
The second round saw Joe Pavelski hit all four targets in just four shots, posting a time of 14.088 and beating Patrice Bergeron, earning the West its second point. Corey Perry then defeated Claude Giroux with a time of 13.771, earning the West another point. In the final round of the competition, Evegeni Malkin posted a 16.179 to beat Jamie Benn and get the East another point.
Running score: East 9, West 3
Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay
The Skills Challenge Relay is one of the night's most entertaining events. Here's the rundown of events:
- One timers - three shooters, one passer. Each shooter must score two goals. One round must feature all right-handed shooters and the other must feature all left-handed shooters.
- Passing - one passer must hit all four mini-goal targets with a saucer pass over a barrier.
- Puck control relay - one skater skates the puck through a series of cones.
- Stick Handling - one skater must maneuver the puck through a series of pucks.
- Goalie goals - one goalie must shoot the puck all the way down the ice, and score two goals.
- West team one: right-handed shooters - Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, Corey Perry, Taylor Hall passer; mini-goal passer: Daniel Seding; Puck control relay - Johnny Gaudreau; Stick Handling - Patrick Kane; Goalie goals: Pekka Rinne; Time: 2:15.371
- East team one: right handed shooters- Aaron Ekblad, Erik Karlsson, Steven Stamkos, Patrice Bergeron passing; mini-goal passer: Nicklas Backstrom; Puck control relay: Justin Faulk; Stick Handling: Claude Giroux; Goalie goals: Braden Holtby; Time: 1:38.41
- West team two: left-handed shooters - Mark Giordano, James Neal, Vladimir Tarasenko, Matt Duchene passing; mini-goal passer: Jamie Benn; Puck control relay: Roman Josi; Stick Handling: Tyler Seguin; Goalie goals: Devan Dubnyk; Time: 1:27:687
- East team two: left-handed shooters - Ryan McDonough, Leo Komarov, Ryan O'Reilly, Jaromir Jagr passing; mini-goal passer: Evegeni Kuznetsov; Puck control relay: Kris Letang; Stick Handling: Dylan Larkin; Goalie goals: Ben Bishop; Time: 1:44.446
With East team one taking the first heat, they earned another point. However, with West team two winning the second heat and posting the fastest overall time, the West grabbed two more points.
Running score: East 10, West 5
Amp Energy NHL Hardest Shot
Always entertaining, the NHL Hardest Shot is one of the fan favorite contests of the Skill Competition. That was especially true tonight in Nashville, where Predators captain Shea Weber, who won the 2015 Hardest Shot contest, was looking to defend his title. Weber was looking to break Zdeno Chara's record of 108.8 MPH on his home ice. Joining Weber in the hardest shot contest for the West were John Scott, Dustin Byfuglien, and Tyler Seguin. Shooters for the East were Aaron Ekblad, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos
Byfuglien and Ekblad went head-to-head in the first round. Each shooter gets two shots per round. Byfuglien posted a speed of 99.6 MPH with his first shot, and 99.4 with his second. Ekblad hit 91.9 MPH on his first, and 93.4 with his second, giving Byfuglien the win and a point for the West.
The second round was Seguin vs. Malin. Seguin's first shot hit a speed of 91.2 MPH, which was answered with a 97.0 by Malkin. Seguin hit a 95.0 MPH shot with his second shot locking up the win for Malkin, who hit a 94.1 on his second. Another point or the East.
The third round was when we saw unlikely All-Star John Scott go up against Stamkos. Scott was greeted with raucous applause before posting a 92.4 MPH with his first shot. Stamkos answered with a 98.5. Scott' second shot was a 95.9 MPH which locked up the win for Stamkos. Stammer wasn't satisfied, though, hitting 103.9 MPH with his second shot.
Then came Shea Weber, who was greeted by huge applause as well. Weber's first shot was the fastest of the night to that point with a 105.3 MPH clapper. His opponent was Subban, whose true first attempt didn't register, but who then hit 102.3 MPH with the official shot. Weber then hit his second shot 108.1 MPH, the fastest of the night but still 0.7 MPH short of Chara's record. Subban answered with ... another unregistered attempt. So his
fourth second attempt was officially 101.3 MPH.
Shea Weber won the round, and his hardest shot got the West an extra point as well.
Running score: East 12, West 8.
Discover NHL Shootout
The night's final event was the Shootout Challenge, the premise of which is pretty self explanatory. There were three rounds, each consisting of six shooters and one goalie for each side. Each goal is worth one point, with some skaters using a special puck worth two points. Patrick Kane went in the first round for the West, using one of the two-point pucks, but he was denied by Roberto Luongo both times.
The first round went as follows:
- Patrick Kane (two points): miss, miss
- Evgeni Malkin (two): goal, goal
- Matt Duchene: miss, miss
- Jaromir Jagr: miss, miss
- Brent Burns (two): miss, miss
- P.K. Subban (two): miss, miss
- Mark Giordano: miss
- Ryan O'Reilly: miss
- Vladimir Tarasenko: miss
- Leo Komarov: miss
- Daniel Sedin: miss
- Aaron Ekblad: miss
Running score: East 16, West 8
The second round went as follows:
- Joe Pavelski (special puck) : Goal, miss
- Patrice Bergeron (special puck) goal, goal
- Taylor Hall: miss, miss
- Nicklas Backstrom: goal, miss
- Jamie Benn (special puck): miss, miss
- Steven Stamkos (special puck): goal
- James Neal: miss
- Evgeni Kuznetsov: miss
- Johnny Gaudreau: miss
- Ryan McDounough: goal
- Dustin Byfuglien: miss
- Justin Faulk: goal
Running Score: East 25, West 10
- John Scott (special puck): miss, miss
- Claude Giroux (special puck): goal, miss
- Shea Weber: miss, miss
- Dylan Larkin: goal, goal
- Tyler Seguin (special puck): goal, miss
- John Tavares (special puck): miss, miss
- Corey Perry: miss, miss
- Kris Letang: miss
- Drew Doughty: miss
- Erik Karlsson: miss
- Roman Josi: miss
- Brandon Saad: miss
Running Score: East 29, West 12
Final Score: East 29, West 12
With the Skills competition win, the Eastern Conference get to choose if they want to play the first or second game tomorrow night. The All-Star Game tomorrow starts at 4:00 p.m. CT.
Adam Hess is a staff writer at Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter at @FeathersInDaHat.