Patrik Laine didn't ease his way into his first NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
The 18-year-old took part in three events representing the Central Division, and although the Central would finish fourth, Laine (and his dad in the stands) could often be seen with smiles on their faces.
"It was a lot of fun," Laine said after the event. "It was a nice experience, and it was nice to get a couple points for my team."
One of the events Laine picked up a point was in the Hardest Shot, where both of his attempts topped his 101.2 mph effort during the Winnipeg Jets Skills Competition in December. His first blast, at 101.7 mph (his second was 101.5 mph) would hold up to beat San Jose's Brent Burns. Laine nearly won the event, until Montreal's Shea Weber edged him with a 102.8 mph rocket.
"Maybe in a couple years I'll try and get some more muscle so I can beat him some day," Laine smiled. "I think that was the best I have right now. I have to practice some more."
Video: SKILLS POST | Patrik Laine
Laine wasn't scheduled to take part in the Fastest Skater, but ended up participating in Vladimir Tarasenko's spot against Vancouver's Bo Horvat. The Jets winger led most of the race, and in a photo finish, edged Horvat by a hundredth of a second. The final numbers, Laine 13.420 to Horvat's 13.430. For his efforts, he earned the Central another point in the standings.
His first event of the evening was the Accuracy Shooting competition. Laine had gone 4-for-4 in 8.4 seconds during the Winnipeg Jets Skills Competition back in December, but in Los Angeles, it took the Finn 21.820 seconds to knock off all four targets.
Overall, Laine enjoyed his time on the ice at STAPLES Center.
"It's nice to spend some time with the guys that I haven't met before. It was a roomful of guys," he said. "The fans were great. It was a nice event and it was just nice to be on the ice and try to have fun."
The Pacific Division finished first overall with six points, followed by the Atlantic (5), the Metropolitan (5), with the Central ending the event with three points.
Video: ALL STAR | Behind The Scenes
With the win in the final head-to-head event - the Discover NHL Shootout - the Atlantic Division chose to play the Metropolitan Division in the second 3-on-3 match up tomorrow.
Laine and the Central will face off with the Pacific to get things started at 2 pm CT.