2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition Results

Photo credit: @ScoutingTheRefs

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The 2019 NHL All Star Skills Competition featured six events in front of a big crowd at SAP Center Friday evening. In the first event, the Fastest Skater, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid won for the third time in a row, this time with a time of 13.378. In second place, Buffalo’s Jack Eichel completed the course in 13.582, with the Islanders’ Matthew Barzal third at 13.778. The first skater in the competition was Kendall Coyne Schofield of the US Women’s National Team. Her time was 14.346.

The second event was demonstrated by Rebecca Johnston of the Canadian Women’s team. The Puck Control race started with a stick handling test, followed by a puck carrying exercise though cones. The third test was to put the puck through three variable gates. One of three gates in each pillar would light up as the skater finished the preceding test. At the end, they had to put the puck in a regular net. Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau took the prize with a time of 27.045. Chicago’s Patrick Kane skated first but came in second with a time of 28.611. Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux finished third with a time of 30.270.

In the Save Streak competition, each goaltender would face a shot from each skater on an opposing team, with the order of go to repeat if the goalie stopped a shot by a Divisional Captain. If he did not stop that shot, his turn was up. Henrik Lundqvist went last and won with 12 saves against the Atlantic Division.

Pekka Rinne was in the net first, making two saves in a row but no longer streak than that against the Pacific Division. Andrei Vasilevsky made 8 saves before Seth Jones scored from the Metro Division. John Gibson made 3 saves against the Central Division. Devan Dubnyk made 7 saves against the Pacific Division. Braden Holtby defended against the Atlantic Division but did not make more than 2 saves in a row. Jimmy Howard made 2 saves against the Metropolitan Division. Marc-Andre Fleury got the extra shots by making a save on the Central Dvivision captain, but he let in the very next shot and did not reach the eight-save threshold set by Vasilevsky.

Briana Decker of the USA Women’s National Team demonstrated the Premier Passer race. Contestants had to hit the sticks of three cutout skaters with a pass, then put pucks in four mini nets with a saucer pass over a low barrier. Finally, the skater had to hit five of six targets which would light up, signalling him to shoot at that one. If he did not hit the target before the light changed, it did not count. Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl won it with a time of 1:09.088. The second best time was 1:18.530 from Carolina’s Sebastian Aho, and the third best was St. Louis’s Ryan O’Reilly with 1:25.897.

Washington’s John Carlson won the Hardest Shot contest with a 102.8 mph shot. San Jose’s Brent Burns came next with a 100.6 mph shot, while Columbus’s Seth Jones was third with a 99 mph shot. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos was the only other shooter and his best was 96.2 mph. San Jose’s Sharky won the mascot hardest shot with 85.2 mph.

The Final Event was Accuracy Shooting. Renata Fast from the Canadian Women’s National Team demonstrated the new setup. Instead of plates that break, the targets were LED lit and they only stayed lit for 3 seconds before going dark. Of course, they had to be hit while lit or it did not count. The standing record for five-target accuracy shooting is 11.1. Boston’s David Pastrnak won it this year with a time of 11:309. Kris Letang and Drew Doughty came in second and third with times of 12.693 and 13.591 respectively. San Jose’s Joe Pavelski finished with a respectable 14.423.

The NHL All-Star Game will start at 5:00 PM PT Saturday.

Forgotten defense returns to vintage form, Sharks beat Hurricanes 3-1

Photo credit: nhl.com/sharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks won their second game in a row, 3-1, against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena Sunday afternoon.

The Sharks’ goals came from Brent Burns, Timo Meier and Chris Tierney.

Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 29 saves, while Hurricanes goaltender Came Ward made 23 saves in a losing effort. Sebastian Aho scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes.

This second win was big for a road trip that started with losses in Pittsburgh and Detroit.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said this improvement is due to a commitment to defense:

Real big commitment, I think right from Pittsburgh, it’s been there. Didn’t get the result in the first couple games, but the effort by the goalies and the team defense it’s created offense for us, created a little bit of momentum. You know, everyone’s buying in, which is important, especially when you’re playing on the road.

Sharks forward Chris Tierney said that consistent defense is part of the team’s identity: “I think we just stuck to our game plan. That’s our identity, being able to win those tight games, tight checking and play well in the third and shut teams down. Just sticking to our game plan and working hard is what we do.”

Aaron Dell described what he saw from his team through the game: “We had lots of support tonight, guys were coming in and giving the other guys options and I think it really showed. We didn’t really give up a whole lot and we got out of our zone pretty easily all night.”

While Dell may have forgotten that the game was played early in the day, he did show up ready to play.

The Sharks opened the scoring just 4:06 into the first period. Timo Meier took a quick pass from Joonas Donskoi just above the goal line. Meier had been trailing the play after Donskoi, Burns and Logan Couture initiated the attack. Meier’s shot beat Cam Ward on the glove side. Assists went to Joonas Donskoi and Brent Burns.

The Hurricanes tied it up at one apiece with 2:02 left in the period. Danny O’Regan was just above the Sharks goal line when he turned the puck over to Jordan Staal. Staal’s pass to Danny Aho set him up perfectly to beat Dell.

The Sharks were not done with the period and regained the lead in the final minute. Melker Karlsson’s pass from the corner found Chris Tierney right in front of the net. He wasted no time and put it away. Assists went to Karlsson and Mikkel Boedker.

San Jose repeated that good start in the second period, but cut it almost in half. Just 2:03 into the middle frame, Brent Burns chased the puck down along the blue line and took a hasty, hard shot at the net. Cam Ward may have been somewhat screened by Barclay Goodrow and Brett Pesce battling in front of him. Assists went to Joel Ward and Joakim Ryan.

Brock McGinn and Brenden Dillon fought at 7:32, which started after a cross-check from Dillon. They went to their respective boxes, and Dillon was joined by Kevin Labanc, serving Dillon’s cross-checking penalty. That was the only penalty of the game, but it did not change the score.

Carolina made a good push at the start of the third, outshooting the Sharks 5-1 in the first six minutes. The Sharks put an end to that with a long shift at the other end, wearing the Hurricane defense down with an unrelenting assault. the Hurricanes broke out of that with a two-on-one but could not turn that into a goal.

Carolina pulled Cam Ward from the net with just over two minutes left in the period but the final score remained 3-1.

The Sharks will finish up this road trip on Tuesday in Denver against the Avalanche at 6:00 pm PT.