The NHL just wrapped up its All Star Weekend at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri on January 25th with the Pacific Division edging the Atlantic Division 5-4 in the three-on-three tournament. The Pacific doubled the Central Division 10-5 in their opening game while the Atlantic downed the Metropolitan Division 9-5.
Boston Bruins’ forward David Pastrnak chipped in with a goal and assist in the final game for the Atlantic Division after notching three goals and an assist in his first contest to take home the MVP Award. Tomas Hertl scored the game-winner in the final with just 2:36 remaining on the clock as the Pacific squad fought back to claim the million dollar prize after falling behind 3-1 in the first period.
The Pacific Division also won the event in 2018 and 2016 while the Metropolitan Division captured the prize in 2019 and 2017. Next year’s All Star Weekend will be held in Sunrise, Florida, at the home rink of the Florida Panthers. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league may alter the format in 2021 and one possibility could see North American players taking on players from other nations.
The current format features teams from each of the league’s four divisions playing three-on-three games that are 20 minutes long with two periods of 10 minutes each. Each team plays the other squad in their conference with the two winners meeting in the final tilt. The NHL also holds a popular skills competition the night before the games are held.
Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders won the fastest skater event as he strode a lap of the rink in 13.175 seconds. The Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid, who won the competition the last three years, came second at 13.215 seconds. McDavid’s best time in the three previous seasons was 13.310 so Barzal did well and also improved on his 13.780 third-place finish of last year. Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers finished third in the eight-man event this weekend at 13.509 seconds.
In the goaltenders’ save streak competition, Jordan Binnington of the hometown St. Louis Blues came out on top with 10 consecutive saves. Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning was second with nine and Frederik Andersen of the Toronto Maple Leafs placed third with seven.
Defenceman Jacob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes won the shooting accuracy event by nailing all of the targets in a time of 9.505 seconds and was followed by Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers at 10.257 seconds and Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers at 13.074 seconds.
As far as the hardest shot event goes, blue liner Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens blasted a 106.mph slap shot to earn the league’s hardest shooter bragging rights. Fellow defenceman John Carlson placed second at 104.5 mph while forward Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks was third at 102.4 mph.
The league introduced a new competition this year called shooting stars in which players shoot several pucks from a platform located high in the stands behind one of the end zones. The object is to hit targets that have been place in various locations on the ice. The inaugural winner was forward Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks with 24 points.
Kane and Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs finished the event with 22 points each with Kane then scoring two points in a one-shot tie-breaking round. Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames came in third place with 20 points. In addition, the league held a three-on-three, 20 minute women’s game between the USA and Canada with the Canadians coming out on top by a score of 2-1.