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Team Foligno extends lead in Skills Challenge Relay

by Dan Rosen /

COLUMBUS -- Team Foligno increased its lead to 12-2 by taking two of three points in the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay.

Team Toews and Team Foligno split the heats with the latter winning the first and Team Toews winning the second, but Team Foligno got the bonus point because it posted the best time in the competition at 1:37.979.

Team Foligno got off to a good start in the first heat when Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk and Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin scored on six consecutive one-timers off of passes from New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias.

However, New York Islanders captain John Tavares struggled to hit the four mini-net targets in the passing challenge and Calgary Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau lost the puck in the puck control skating drill. Ottawa Senators rookie Mike Hoffman finished the stickhandling drill with ease and Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak scored his two goals, but the final time in the first heat for Team Toews was 2:06.262.

Team Foligno posted the best time of the event in its first heat.

With San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns doing the passing, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos went a combined 6-for-7 in one-timers.

Kings center Anze Kopitar finished the mini-net passing drill faster than Tavares and St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk breezed through the puck control drill while wearing a GoPro helmet. Team Foligno was in good enough shape to not get burned despite the fact that Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane fumbled the puck in the stickhandling drill and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price needed several attempts to score his two goals.

Team Toews was better in its second heat, finishing with a time of 1:38.789. A big reason was the precise width-of-the-ice passing into the mini nets from Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who needed only five attempts to hit the four targets.

Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko wheeled through the puck control drill and Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg was quick in the stick-handling drill while wearing a GoPro helmet. Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo needed five shots to score his two goals.

Team Foligno struggled in its second heat largely because the captain, Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno, couldn't hit his second one-timer from below the right circle. He was very low and kept hitting the side of the net. Eventually, they moved on without him hitting the second shot.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins went 4-for-14 in the mini nets passing drill. Doughty got through the puck control drill and Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had no issues with the stick-handling drill, but Team Foligno was already beyond the two-minute mark by the time Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury began shooting.

Fleury needed five shots to score his two goals, but the time was 2:19.793.


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