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Eichel, Skinner turn in memorable moments at All-Star Skills Competition

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

SAN JOSE - For all the highlight-reel plays made at SAP Center on Friday night, Jeff Skinner said that the most memorable aspect of the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Compeition was the people he got to spend it with. 

"My parents and little sister are here, then I've got a couple friends," Skinner said. "And then my friend Eichs is here."

Skinner and Jack Eichel were together representing the Sabres as the on-ice portion of All-Star Weekend began, and both players managed to produce their own memorable moments in process.

Eichel participated in the Fastest Skater competition for the second year in a row, while Skinner took part in the Puck Control challenge. Both players found the back of the net during the Goalie Streak event. 

Here's how it went down, in order of event.  


Fastest Skater

Video: EICHEL: Post All Star Skills Interview

Eichel finished his lap in 13.582 seconds, which held the lead until Connor McDavid stepped up as the last of eight skaters. It made for a compelling finish, but McDavid posted a time of 13.378 to win the event for the third straight year.

"The first half I thought I had a chance," Eichel said. "He might've pulled away there at the end and got in. I thought I had a good chance to put myself on top, but you come up a little short. It's a little frustrating, I mean I'm a competitive guy, so you want to win everything you do."

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: .@Jackeichel15 comes in second in Fastest Skater (13.582)!

Eichel's time was .246 seconds faster than his lap last year, when he finished third behind McDavid and Brayden Point.  

The full results of the event were as follows:

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers - 13.378 seconds
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres - 13.582 seconds
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders - 13.780 seconds
Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars - 13.914
Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks - 13.930 seconds
Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets - 14.152
Kendall Coyne Schofield, U.S. Women's National Team - 14.346
Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes - 14.526


Puck Control

Video: SKINNER: Post All-Star Skills Interview

Skinner, going third among eight skaters, was neck-and-neck with Patrick Kane's leading time of 28.611 seconds when he approached the last portion of the event, which tasked players with lifting the puck through three vertically stacked holes in three gates.

He passed through the first and second gates with relative ease, but a misfire on the lowest of the three holes proved costly. His shot caromed into the corner, forcing him into a seventh-place finish with a time of 35.407 seconds. Johnny Gaudreau won the event with a time of 27.045. 

"I felt like it was going pretty well and then I couldn't it through that lit-up hole there," he said. "It kind of slowed me down and I missed the net. That's alright. I don't know how game-like it is, but it was pretty fun."

You can bet it didn't wipe the smile off his face.

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Always. Smiling. #NHLAllStar

Here are the full results of the event:

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames - 27.045 seconds
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks - 28.611 seconds
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers - 30.270 seconds
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets - 32.161 seconds
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche - 33.425 seconds
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs - 35.210 seconds
Jeff Skinner, Buffalo Sabres - 35.407 seconds
Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks - 43.622 seconds


Save Streak

This event utilized every skater in a competition to see which goalie could string together the longest save streak. The Atlantic Division was paired against Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist, the latter of whom won the event by stopping 14 shots in a row. 

It could have been 15, had it not been for Skinner. He was able to evade a poke check from Lundqvist and beat the goalie to the left post: 

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: .@JeffSkinner ends the save streak! 😱Congrats, @HLundqvist30. 👊

"I missed it," Lundqvist said. "And then I was done."

That last part was welcoming news for Eichel, who had been stopped by Lundqvist three times. (He did score against Holtby.)

"That was pretty sweet," Eichel said. "Yeah, that was awesome. It was good so we didn't have to go anymore."


Up next

Eichel and Skinner will represent the Atlantic Division at the All-Star Game on Saturday, which you can watch live on NBC at 8 p.m.

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