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MacKinnon Shows Off Speed and Shot at All-Star Skills

Central Division captain representing Avalanche for fourth straight year

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

ST. LOUIS--Nathan MacKinnon wrapped up his on-ice portion of the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills early in the night as he participated in the first two events on Friday evening at Enterprise Center.

The Colorado Avalanche forward first took part in "Fastest Skater" before being one of the shooters in "Save Streak." The NHL hosts the annual skills competition the night before the All-Star Game.

MacKinnon finished fifth among the eight players in "Fastest Skater" with a time of 13.895 seconds. He went clockwise around the ice, one of three skaters to do so, along with fellow right-handed shooters Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres and Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders.

Going second behind the New York Rangers' Chris Kreider, MacKinnon was on the podium until the final three skaters when Eichel, Barzal and the Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid all finished with sub-13 times.

"I think I went a little wide," MacKinnon said of his run. "It's not just about speed. Its more about your turn, I think was a little wide. I felt good. I felt fast."

Barzal, who went second to last, won the event with a time of 13.175 seconds. Defending champion McDavid had the last chance to best the time set by Barzal but came 4-hundreths of a second short (13.215).

Video: Fastest Skater: MacKinnon displays his speed

MacKinnon went 1-for-2 on shots in "Save Streak," which saw the eight all-star goaltenders try and stop the most consecutive shots while facing a minimum of nine shooters.

On his first attempt against Jacob Markstrom, the Vancouver Canucks goalie got a piece of MacKinnon's shot after some quick stickhandles and a flick of the wrist. MacKinnon did end the night of the Calgary Flames' David Rittich, as he attempted a similar shot and found the top right corner with a quick, floating wrister.

Jordan Binnington of the hometown St. Louis Blues won by stopping the final 10 shots he faced.

Erie, Colorado, native Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes won Accuracy Shooting by hitting all five targets in 9.505 seconds. In Hardest Shot, the Montreal Canadiens' Shea Weber continued to prove that he has one of the most dangerous slap shots in the league as he finished first with a registered speed of 106.5 miles per hour. His first slap shot went 105.9 miles per hour, second highest among all the shots taken.

"I think everyone expected it," MacKinnon said of Weber's win. "It would have been cool to see him break [Zdeno] Chara's record, but he definitely has the hardest shot in the league. There is no question about that. Easy money for Webs."

This year's skills competition featured two new events, Shooting Stars and the Elite Women's 3-on-3 game.

In Shooting Stars, 10 players--eight NHL All-Stars, Hilary Knight of the American Elite Women's All-Star team and Marie-Philip Poulin of the Canadian Elite Women's All-Star team--were positioned on an elevated platform behind the goal, approximately 30 feet above the ice surface, and shot pucks at a variety of targets located on the ice, with each target possessing different point values.

MacKinnon compared the competition to Top Golf.

"It looked really hard," MacKinnon said. "Those targets looked really small from all the way up there, those guys looking at it. It looked tough."

The Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane won the event in a one-shot tiebreaker, besting the Toronto Maple Leafs' Mitch Marner. Both finished with 22 points after their first seven attempts.

The Elite Women's 3-on-3 consisted of American and Canadian All-Star teams comprised of nine skaters and one goalie. The 3-on-3 game was played under two 10-minute periods, with teams switching sides after a brief intermission.

Canada won the inaugural contest by a 2-1 score. Rebecca Johnston and Melodie Daoust tallied for Canada, while Hilary Knight scored for the United States.

Video: MacKinnon on going up against McDavid, being captain

While MacKinnon's wasn't too terribly busy at the skills event, the chance to hang out and watch some of the league's top players show off their craft was what he enjoyed the most about the evening.

"Some of the best players in the world are here, so it's exciting to catch up with them," MacKinnon said. "I think that is the best part. The Skills are fun, but I think the camaraderie is great."

MacKinnon's final event of the weekend will be Saturday when he captains the Central Division All-Stars in the three-game, 3-on-3 tournament. This is the second straight year that he will captain the squad, but he wasn't able to participate in the 2019 game as he was dealing with a minor injury.

The Avs center was instead an assistant to coach Paul Maurice on the bench last year and helped "coach" the squad to the final where it eventually lost to the Metropolitan Division. The Central aims to return to the final game again, but this time win the bragging rights and the $1 million winner-take-all prize pool.

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