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Ovi threepeats in NHL Breakaway Challenge

by Dan Rosen /
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Attempting to use push-ups and jumping jacks as a way to distract the shooters, Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tried to steal the show away from the creative combatants in the BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge.

He couldn't take it away from one of his archrivals.

Despite P.K. Subban pulling off the most memorable moment of the event by wearing Carolina rookie Jeff Skinner's jersey, Alex Ovechkin retained his crown as the League's premier breakaway artist by earning his threepeat in the event.

Ovechkin originally won the Breakaway Challenge title in Atlanta three years ago and successfully defended it in Montreal in 2009 by using sunglasses and a fishing hat as his props to go along with Evgeni Malkin's services as his assistant.

He didn't need anything except what he called his "magic hands" to win the event Saturday night at the Honda SuperSkills competition. Ovechkin received 38.5 percent of the text votes that were submitted in mere minutes following the competition.

Ovechkin was shocked that he won.

"I don't know -- we have to make a call to the fans and ask why Alex Ovechkin wins this competition?" he said with a smile.

Ovechkin said he would have given his text vote to Perry, who impressed with a near-flawless lacrosse-style attempt.

"It's pretty hard to create something when you see these guys make some good moves, make some sick moves like Perry did," Ovechkin said.

The problem was Perry didn't score; he hit the crossbar. Perry finished fifth with 12.2 percent of the texted votes.

"I have to give a lot of props to (New York Islanders center) Rob Schrempf," Perry said, admitting he did use some secrets to keep the puck on his tape. "I played with him for a couple of years and watched him do that all the time. It was in the back of my mind."

Subban got on the good side of the RBC Center crowd by coming out as the first shooter wearing Skinner's Hurricanes' No. 53 jersey. He was simply following a suggestion from San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle, who came up with the idea to wear Skinner's jersey in order to get the fans behind him.

Montreal's rookie defenseman got a good chunk of it despite not scoring on any of his attempts. He finished second with 21.3 percent of the votes.

"I was kind of told by an older guy to do it so I did it," Subban said, referring to Boyle. "He thought it was pretty good and the crowd seemed to like it. That's what it's all about."

"Had he won I would have taken full credit," Boyle told "Since he finished second, that's all him."

Dallas forward Loui Eriksson was third with 13.4 percent of the votes, followed by Anze Kopitar (12.5 percent), Perry and finally Evgeny Dadonov (2.1 percent).

Loui Eriksson and Anze Kopitar also tried the lacrosse-style move, but couldn't keep it nearly as clean as Perry did.

But it was still Ovechkin's show, even if it came as a total surprise to him.

Ovechkin, who shot fifth out of the six competitors, said he likely won the fans over with his fourth and final attempt. He used the butt end of his stick to drag the puck from the center faceoff dot on in and as Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury went down he switched to his stick blade, deked around the prone goalie and pushed the puck in the net.

Ovechkin also tried dribbling the puck on his stick blade before turning it around and swinging with the shaft to knock it in. Fleury made the save on that one, but creativity, not goals, count most in this event.

"Yeah, I was surprised," Ovechkin said. "I didn't know that I was going to win that, but I won it so I'm pretty happy."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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