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Huberdeau Shines Bright at 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

All-Star Game Reaction: Huberdeau

2020 All-Star Game Reaction: Huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau shares his thoughts on what it was like to take part in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game

  • 01:10 •

Even surrounded by the league's best, Jonathan Huberdeau stood out.

Making his first-ever trip to the league's annual best-on-best event, the Florida Panthers winger registered a goal and an assist for the Atlantic Division in a 5-4 loss to the Pacific Division in the championship tilt of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Saturday.

"It was cool," said Huberdeau, who leads the Panthers with 65 points (18 goals, 47 assists). "A lot of guys were trying being creative out there. You can see how much skill they all have. It's nice to be out there with them and see that in real life. I had a really good time this weekend."

For the fifth straight year, the All-Star Game consisted of a 3-on-3 tournament in which the top players from the league's four divisions - Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan - competed against each other for a chance to win a portion of the event's whopping $1 million grand prize.

Each game in the tournament was 20 minutes in length, split into a pair of 10-minute halves.

In the semifinal, Huberdeau came up big for the Atlantic Division when he took a between-the-legs pass from Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk before scoring from the low slot to tie the game 5-5 near the midway point of the second half of an eventual 9-5 win over the Metropolitan Division.

Video: MET@ATL: Tkachuk sets up Huberdeau's game-tying goal

"The first game I was a little nervous out there, but I thought it was pretty good," Huberdeau said of his experience in the semifinal. "I thought it was good, a big win and nice to get to the final."

As for his first goal of the night, the 26-year-old said he benefited from a "good bounce."

"It came to me in front of the net," he said. "I just tried to go as quick as I can."

Picking up right where he left off in the semifinal, Huberdeau put the Atlantic Division up 2-0 just 1:29 into the championship game when he took a pass from Tkachuk (they seemed to click all night long), crashed the net and slipped the puck past Jacob Markstrom while falling to the ice.

Video: ATL@PAC: Huberdeau tucks home Tkachuk's dish for goal

Later, a home-run stretch pass from Huberdeau set up a breakaway goal for Boston's David Pastrnak that put the Atlantic Division up 3-1 with 47 seconds left on the clock in the first half.

Unfortunately, the Pacific Division went on to net four goals in the second half to win 5-4.

Still, Huberdeau isn't leaving St. Louis completely empty-handed.

"A lot of new friends," he said. "My team, we talked a lot the past two days."

Prior to the All-Star Game, Huberdeau competed in the All-Star Skills Competition on Friday. Selected to compete in the Accuracy Shooting portion of the event, he was tasked with knocking down five digital targets within the net while shooting 25 feet out from the goal line. Taking care of business in a mere 13.704 seconds, he finished with the third-best time out of eight skaters.

Carolina's Jaccob Slavin won the event with a time of 9.505.

"It was a cool experience, especially with it being digital," Huberdeau said.

Huberdeau also served a shooter during the Save Streak competition, where he unleashed one of the filthiest dekes of the night on Pittsburgh's Tristan Jarry to snap the rookie's streak at four.

Tweet from @Sportsnet: Huberdeau's move was so good, he even faked out the camera guy. 😂@FlaPanthers | #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/i8RXLgqJu4

"It was pretty fun," Huberdeau said. "We had a blast. You don't' have a chance to talk to [other players around the league] usually. It was good to relax, see the other guys and talk a little bit."

With the All-Star Game now in his rearview, Huberdeau will now have a little bit of time to rest up before the Panthers return to the ice next week and continue their late-season playoff push.

Fueled by a season-high, six-game winning streak, Florida entered the break with an impressive 28-16-5 record and a crucial four-point lead over Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Looking ahead, Huberdeau said the Panthers only have the playoffs on their mind.

"We know we can be a good team. I feel like the last few weeks we've been more consistent," Huberdeau said. "We've just got to keep going until the end of the season to make the playoffs."

And, as far as the future of the All-Star Game, it'll certainly be a bit warmer at next year's event.

That's right, the 2021 NHL All-Star Weekend is coming to BB&T Center and South Florida!

For more information, click HERE

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