It was almost a clean sweep for the Eastern Conference on Saturday night during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition. The East stars showed they had more skills than the Western Conference squad, winning 29-12 thanks in large part to a 17-4 victory in the Discover NHL Shootout.
Sunday's All-Star Game will feature a different format this year. With the Eastern Conference winning the skills competition, the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions will face off in the first game of the new three-on-three tournament, and the Central and Pacific All-Stars will face off in the second game.
The winner of those two games will meet in a winner-takes-all match for $1 million.
Here's a rundown of Saturday's events, which included a record-breaking performance, a legend being honored and an appearance by a famous Star Wars character.
Fastest Skater: Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings
Dylan Larkin is 19 years old, so he may be the fastest skater in the league for a long time.
The Detroit Red Wings rookie center not only won the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater Competition, but he also broke the NHL record for the fastest time in one rink lap (13.172), which 22-year veteran Mike Gartner had held (13.386).
NHL on NBC provided video footage of the former Michigan Wolverines star sprinting around the ice and breaking Gartner's record by two thousandths of a second:
NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports
You might have missed it cause he's so fast! Re-watch Larkin's record breaking skate! #NHLAllStar @DetroitRedWings https://t.co/jeCfJU7PYF1/31/2016, 12:38:14 AM
The Red Wings sent out this tweet after their prized rookie did the unthinkable:
Detroit Red Wings @DetroitRedWings
He did it!!! Dylan Larkin breaks the record!!! 😱😱😱 #STUD #LARKVILLE1/31/2016, 12:31:59 AM
Being the youngest All-Star on the roster, Larkin's youth could have played a role in his winning the competition. Jason Brough of NBC's Pro Hockey Talk jokingly previewed how Larkin's post-competition press conference could've gone:
Jason Brough @JasonPHT
Dylan Larkin on winning fastest skater: "I'm young. Everyone else was old. It was easy. My life is awesome."1/31/2016, 12:30:13 AM
Larkin told Dan Rosen of NHL.com on Friday that he would "feel more nervous" about playing in the All-Star Game than a regular-season game. At 19 years old, he's allowed to feel that way, but those nerves had to go away once Larkin found out he's in the record books.
Breakaway Challenge: P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
The Florida Panthers are one of the bright spots of this NHL season, and leading the charge is ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr.
The 43-year-old legend is in the All-Star Game this weekend, and 26-year-old defenseman P.K. Subban won the fan-voted Breakaway Challenge while paying homage to Jagr by not only wearing his jersey but also his famous mullet.
Illinois Fighting Illini hockey broadcaster Cristiano Simonetta provided a GIF of the hilarious sequence, and Jagr was probably flattered based on his reaction:
Cristiano Simonetta @CMS_74_
P.K. Subban dresses up as Jaromir Jagr, who absolutely loves it. #NHLAllStar https://t.co/c2H2snllL11/31/2016, 12:52:16 AM
Afterward, Subban and Jagr posed for a photo, per NHL Public Relations:
NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
Fans voted P.K. Subban (@CanadiensMTL) winner of the @Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge. Photo: https://t.co/w7Vf3Qj4oS https://t.co/s8XDpJSmjX1/31/2016, 1:03:33 AM
The first-time All-Star wasn't the only one to put on extra hair for the competition. San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, who already has the most epic facial hair in the NHL, decided to add a bit more to his features by channeling his inner Chewbacca, per the NHL:
We have no words for this because Chewie would have no words for this. #NHLAllStar https://t.co/wxMJVyJjyF1/31/2016, 1:03:27 AM
The Breakaway Challenge was not only entertaining, but it also turned out to be hairy. In the end, Subban paying his respects to a legend ended up being the better choice than the Star Wars idea. Now, let's picture Chewbacca wearing Jagr's mullet. That would be awesome.
Accuracy Shooting: John Tavares, New York Islanders
New York Islanders sniper John Tavares won the Accuracy Shooting Competition with a time of 12.294 seconds, needing only five shots to take down all four targets.
The Islanders tweeted this after their captain won:
New York Islanders @NYIslanders
Your winner... and NEW Accuracy Shooting Champion! Number 91 JOHN TAVARES! 🎯🎯🎯🎯🏆🏆🏆🏆 @91Tavares #NHLAllStar1/31/2016, 1:11:43 AM
NHL on NBC also provided a GIF of Tavares' winning run, showing off his power and precision while he took care of the corner targets:
NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports
Feeling it. #NHLAllStar @91Tavares @NYIslanders https://t.co/jNtcJUSqql1/31/2016, 1:05:41 AM
Tavares is on pace for his third 30-goal season, and the Islanders will be happy, knowing that they have the most accurate star in the league on their roster.
Skills Challenge Relay: Western Conference
The Western Conference picked up two much-needed points after winning the Gatorade Skills Challenge Relay thanks to a second-heat time of 1:27.69.
The NHL tweeted this after the end of the event that saw the West gain some ground on the Eastern Conference:
That’s teamwork! The winners of the @Gatorade Skills Challenge is the Western Conference. #NHLAllStar https://t.co/96rJEOF4Gi1/31/2016, 1:47:23 AM
After a poor first heat for the West, the East took the first point of the relay with a time of 1:38.41. The Western Conference stormed back with its blazing sub-1:30 second heat to take the second point. By having the best overall time, the West was able to win the event.
The Washington Capitals provided a full clip of the Eastern Conference's first heat:
Washington Capitals @Capitals
The East win the NHL Skills Challenge Relay with a little help from @Kuzya92, @Holts170 & @backstrom19 #CapsAllStars https://t.co/HUUTIPEkln1/31/2016, 2:03:37 AM
Hardest Shot: Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
For the second straight year, Shea Weber proved he has the hardest shot in the league. This year, it gave the Nashville faithful something to enjoy.
Weber won the NHL Hardest Shot Competition in convincing fashion with a 108.1 mph shot. Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos came in second at 103.9 mph.
NHL on NBC provided a GIF of Weber's crazy shot:
NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports
108.1 MPH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #NHLAllStar @PredsNHL https://t.co/PEoe1Zsn4B1/31/2016, 2:00:23 AM
The Predators also tweeted this after Weber was declared the winner:
Nashville Predators @PredsNHL
#NHLAllStar #HardestShot Winner https://t.co/nGerjHhf7s1/31/2016, 2:00:57 AM
ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun took a moment to appreciate how dominant and powerful the Predators captain was:
Pierre LeBrun @Real_ESPNLeBrun
Shea Weber's second shot attempt, 108.1 mph. Wowzers. Take a bow.1/31/2016, 1:58:57 AM
The Western Conference didn't have much to cheer for until the end of the night, but this was the moment when the crowd got into it the most. Weber has built his reputation for having one of the hardest shots in the league, and he showed why.
Saturday turned out to be a fun day filled with laughs and skills. But the time for laughing will be over when the puck drops Sunday for the All-Star Game at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
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