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Skills Competition

Pietrangelo wins passing challenge at Skills Competition

Blues defenseman completes event in 46.610 seconds

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Alex Pietrangelo had two simple objectives heading into the Dunkin' Donuts NHL Passing Challenge on Saturday.

The St. Louis Blues defenseman didn't want to start the first-time event at the 2018 GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Amalie Arena. He wanted to follow Blues teammate Brayden Schenn so he'd know what time he would need to defeat him.

But Pietrangelo defeated Schenn and everyone else in the eight-player field by completing the three-sectioned course in a time of 46.610 seconds.

Pietrangelo, who went sixth, bested second-place finisher Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild by 8.069 seconds. Staal finished in 54.679 seconds. Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang finished third in 1:00.15.

Schenn finished fifth in 1:05.951.


[RELATED: Complete All-Star Skills Competition Results]


"That's all I cared about is beating [Schenn]," Pietrangelo said.

Pietrangelo and Schenn had a friendly wager on which of them would do better.

"I got a free dinner and maybe some other stuff," Pietrangelo said. "I'll make sure I'll enjoy that steak he's going to buy me."

Pietrangelo also picked up $25,000 for winning the event.

"I'll probably just give it right back to charity, but it's a good little bonus," he said.

The event featured three skills over one round. It began with target passing, where each player had to complete four passes to targets that lit up in random sequence. In the give-and-go portion, each player had to complete four required passes through a course set up in the neutral zone.

Video: Dunkin' Donuts NHL Passing Challenge Recap

Finally, in the mini nets section, each player had to make one pass over a barricade and into each of four mini nets, and competed the round with an additional pass into the goal.

Pietrangelo needed six passes to hit the four targets in the target passing section. The 28-year-old also completed the mini nets portion with six passes.

"We were all nervous because we didn't really know what to do, so I'm happy I didn't go first," he said. "Then when I get up there, [the targets] are farther [away] than I thought they were. I don't know. Maybe I should pass the puck more."

The 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports) will be Pietrangelo's first All-Star Game.

"You never know when you're going to get to come back, so you've got to make sure you enjoy it as much as you can," he said.

Pietrangelo is tied with Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings for fifth among NHL defensemen with 35 points (eight goals, 27 assists). That has him on pace to finish with 56 points, which would surpass his NHL career high of 51 (2011-12, 2013-14).

"The team has been playing well. That makes it easier for everybody," Pietrangelo said. "But they're giving me opportunities to play in every situation. Any time they give you that confidence to contribute in all aspects of the game, that gives you a good feel for the game."

Video: Pietrangelo on Passing Challenge, All-Star Weekend



Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues, 46.610

Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild, 54.679

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins, 1:00.015

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes, 1:04.530

Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues, 1:05.951

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers, 1:07.419

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning, 1:39.562

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings, 1:47.415

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