ST. LOUIS — The NHL Skills Competition can be hit or miss, but 2020 will go down as one of the better ones in recent memory. There were two new events, history was made and there was certainly drama.
It also ended in a fun night for Blackhawks fans, who got to see their lone All-Star wrap up the event with a win in St. Louis.
Here's a recap of some of the best moments from Friday:
Patrick Kane wins Shooting Stars challenge
It may have been the final competition of the night, but it was a memorable one. The NHL introduced a new event called the "Shooting Stars" challenge, which featured 10 players trying to hit a variety of targets from an elevated platform in the crowd. Each one had seven pucks to rack up as many points as possible.
Mitch Marner, who was the second shooter, recorded 22 points, which was the score to beat. Only Kane matched that, although the hometown fans lobbies for Ryan O’Reilly to be included in the group after Blues legend Brett Hull took his final shot and missed.
In a one-shot sudden death “score-off,” Kane picked up two points while Marner came away with zero. Much to the disappointment of Blues fans, Kane officially took home the W.
"It was alright, I think it's a little gimmicky," Kane said. "But at the same time, try to have fun with it and enjoy the event. We all had a little pact that we're going to shoot for the arch and try to get as many points as we can through the 10-pointers. It was fun to win it."
History made for second straight year
Kendall Coyne Schofield made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to participate in the NHL Skills Competition, replacing an injured Nathan MacKinnon in the fastest skater competition. She logged a time of 14.346, which was seventh out of the eight participants.
This year, there was an entire event dedicated for the women skaters for the first time in league history.
USA and Canada played against each other in a 3-on-3 tournament, with the 10 best players from each country making up the rosters. It was entertaining back and forth action, and Canada prevailed 2-1 despite USA nearly scoring on a buzzer beater in the final period. It was a terrific event for the sport and the growth of women's hockey.
"It's something that you dream about, the day that there's routinely that many people watching women's hockey and there are sold-out building," Coyne Schofield said. "And so to have that here tonight for 3-on-3 alongside the NHL's best is just incredible."
A new fastest skater
After winning the event for three consecutive years, Connor McDavid was dethroned in the fastest skater competition despite posting the best time of his career (13.215). He was edged out by Mathew Barzal by just 0.04 with a time of 13.175.
Barzal missed Dylan Larkin's record of 13.172 from 2016 by only 0.003.
"I told Connor when I was out there, I don't think I could have skated a better lap," Barzal said. "I don't know if I could do it again. It was exciting. Obviously you want to try to win and there's a lot of fast skaters out there. To skate a lap like that today was fun, it was cool."
A new hardest shot champion
With the hardest shot competition in St. Louis, it was only fitting for the Blues to bring back Al MacInnis, who’s a seven-time champion of the event. And that’s exactly what they did.
MacInnis hopped on the ice, waved to the crowd, teed up for a celebrity shot and clocked in at 100.4 mph with a wooden stick. The official time may never be confirmed, but in the eyes of everyone there, it didn't matter. It was a cool moment to see MacInnis blast one more shot.
Shea Weber, who won the hardest shot competition three consecutive years from 2015-17, made his return to the event and reclaimed the title with a first shot of 105.9 and a second of 106.5, both of which were harder than any other skater.
Weber’s 106.5 was 2.0 away from his personal best set in 2015 and 2.3 away from Zdeno Chara’s record of 108.8 in 2012.
Jordan Binnington clutches up in St. Louis
One of the loudest moments of the night came during the “Save Streak” challenge, where all eight goaltenders competed to make the most consecutive saves.
The streak to beat was nine by Andrei Vasilevskiy with one netminder left: the hometown guy.
And, like he did throughout the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Binnington clutched up and topped Vasilevskiy by stopping 10 in a row, one of which came from Tomas Hertl wearing a Justin Bieber face mask in honor of the social media bet Bieber and Binnington made about a future breakaway challenge.
"We expected more of the Biebs today but he'll be alright," Binnington said. "He'll figure it out. We'll take that one. I don't think it counts towards the real competition. ... It was pretty funny. I'm sure he'll get a laugh out of it. Hertl did a great job."
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