McDavid, Gaudreau shine at NHL skills competition

28 Jan, 2018 12:02 pm

FLORIDA (AFP)-Connor McDavid had plenty of spring in his step and Johnny Gaudreau showed off his smooth hands at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game skills competition on Saturday night.

Edmonton Oilers forward McDavid became the first back-to-back winner of the fastest skater competition, ahead of Sunday’s All-Star Game in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The 21-year-old McDavid finished his lap around the rink in 13.45 seconds, just ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point who clocked 13.57. Buffalo Sabres Jack Eichel was third in 13.83.

McDavid joins Scott Niedermayer, Mike Gartner, Peter Bondra, Sami Kapanen, and Sergei Federov as the only players to win the event more than once.

Calgary Flames star Gaudreau easily claimed the puck control relay title after finishing in 24.65 seconds.

He was more than three seconds faster than runner-up John Tavares, of the New York Islanders, who finished in 28.24.

The event featured players controlling the puck through a series of obstacles and then shooting into an empty net.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin won the hardest shot title at 101.3 miles per hour (162 kilometeres per hour) while Vegas Golden Knights Marc-Andre Fleury was the top goaltender by making 14 straight saves in a shootout competition.

The league also held a board of governors’ meeting earlier on Saturday and announced that San Jose would host the 2019 NHL All-Star game.

Commissioner Gary Bettman also announced tentative plans for next season’s international games.

The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played exhibition games in China in 2017 and the league intends to return there next September.

Details are still being worked out but Calgary and Boston have been discussed as possible candidates.

In September, New Jersey will visit Switzerland and Edmonton will go to Germany to play local teams. The Devils and Oilers will then face each other in a regular-season opener in Sweden. Winnipeg will play Florida in Finland for two regular season games in November.

The topic of goaltender interference also came up with a number of high-profile cases this past week involving McDavid and Toronto’s Auston Matthews, where seemingly good goals were not allowed because of contact with the netminder.

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