TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Alex Ovechkin had already clinched the hardest shot title at the NHL All-Star game skills competition before taking his final shot.
All that was left was to try to top 100 mph, and Ovechkin did it.
The Washington star was the only player the break the century mark Saturday night, coming on his second try. Ovechkin’s first attempt went 98.8 mph.
“Why not?” Ovechkin said, smiling. “And, I did. Of course it’s special to get that type of win.”
Others in the hardest shot event were P.K. Subban (Nashville), who was second at 98.7 mph, Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay), Brent Burns (San Jose) and John Klingberg (Dallas).
Connor McDavid (Edmonton) became the first player to be the fastest skater winner in back-to back years. Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis) claimed the passing challenge, Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary) topped the puck control relay and Brock Boeser (Vancouver) took the accuracy shooting competition.
In a new event, Marc-Andre Fleury put together 14 consecutive stops on breakaways to capture the save streak.
Subban threw his glove just wide of the post as he skated toward Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist but failed to score on his breakaway. Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux broke his stick on a slap shot that ended Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne’s second-place run of 13 in a row.
The NHL revamped the skills competition this year, placing the emphasis on the individual players instead of a team competition. The winner of each event receives $25,000.
“Some of those things don’t look very hard until you try to do it,” Detroit’s Mike Green said.
One of the noticeable changes came in accuracy shooting where the Styrofoam targets were replaced with LED targets located in the net.
The targets lit up randomly and the shooter, standing 25 feet from the goal line, had three seconds to hit the target that was lit.
Boeser shattered one of the lights, which briefly delayed the competition as the light was replaced.
“There are definitely nerves out there, but it’s all in fun,” Stamkos said.