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Ekman-Larsson Shines at All-Star Skills Competition

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes


COLUMBUS – Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson turned in a flawless performance on Saturday night in his two events at the 2015 NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena.

Photo by Getty Images.

Ekman-Larsson, 23, was playing for Team Foligno as it battled Team Toews. He competed without error as a stick-handler during the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay and then scored twice on two attempts in the event’s finale – the Discover NHL Shootout.

Team Foligno beat Team Toews 25-19.

Ekman-Larsson is making his first appearance as an NHL All-Star. His performance on Saturday night was quite impressive for a first-timer in this high-profile setting.

"Everything was special," Ekman-Larsson said when asked to name the highlight of his night. "It was just fun to be on the ice. The fans are great here and it was a good experience for me. I would like to do that again."

During the shootout, Ekman-Larsson earned his team valuable points by beating Team Toews goalie Roberto Luongo with two shots. His second goal was scored with a special “Discover Puck” that was worth more points to his team.

"I just wanted to fake and see if he reacted and put it up top," Ekman-Larsson said. "I got lucky twice so it was fun."

As a "stick-handler" in the Skills Challenge Relay, Ekman-Larsson had to keep control of the puck through a series of six pucks placed just inches apart. He nailed it.

Photo by Getty Images.

"I was real nervous so I just told myself to slow it down and take your time," Ekman-Larsson said. "I didn’t want to mess that up. It went pretty good."

Before the Skills Competition, Ekman-Larsson entered the arena via the Red Carpet and posed for photos and signed autographs. It was a fun experience for Ekman-Larsson, who co-owns a Sweden-based clothing line named OEL of Sweden.

"I did a pretty good job on the Red Carpet," Ekman-Larsson said with a smile. "I think I looked pretty nice so I’m happy with my performance there."

The All-Star weekend concludes on Sunday at 3 p.m. (Arizona time) with the All-Star Game. Ekman-Larsson again will skate with Team Foligno.

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