ST. LOUIS — As he does with most other things on ice, the Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid made his fastest skater championships look as easy as 1-2-3 — as in the last three in a row.
But McDavid was dethroned Friday by a 22-year-old from Coquitlam, Canada, named Mathew Barzal during the NHL All-Stars skills competition at Enterprise Center.
The New York Islanders forward finished his race around the ice in 13.175 seconds, which was just .003 seconds behind Dylan Larkin's record in the event, set in 2016.
McDavid immediately followed Barzal and was the last player to make his way around the ice, which he did in 13.215 seconds.
Barzal was all smiles — and praise for McDavid — afterward.
"I told Connor when we were out there I don't think I could have skated a better lap," Barzal said. "I don't know if I could do it again.
MAT BARZAL WINS THE FASTEST SKATER COMPETITION. ⭐️@NYIslanders | #NHLAllStarpic.twitter.com/rs4yjQrgmh
"Even when Connor was coming around the last turn I was like, 'I don't think I'm holding up.' "
Barzal's upset of McDavid might not come as a complete surprise, considering McDavid suffered a major injury to his left knee in the last game of last season. McDavid opted to rehab the knee rather than have surgery to fix, among other ailments, a torn PCL. Details about his decision and recovery process were shared in a documentary set to be released Friday night by Sportsnet.
McDavid's injury and how he planned to treat it was a mystery for most of the time he rehabbed.
"It was just a different way to go about it," said McDavid, who leads the NHL with 76 points. "It's not like you're trying to hide anything. We didn't know. Simply saying, 'I don't know,' is the right answer because we didn't know all the answers to all the questions."
Barzal's victory over McDavid was one of several memorable moments from Friday's skills competition.
Here's a look at the good and bad of the night:
Good: For the third year in a row, the NHL showcased women's hockey during All-Star weekend. This year the league took it a step further by hosting a three-on-three game between a team of Canadian All-Stars and U.S All-Stars during the skills competition.
GOOD EXPOSURE: Will women's game lead to sustainable pro hockey league?
The Canadian team won 2-1 in a game that featured two 10-minute periods and a mostly running clock. Rebecca Johnston and Melodie Daoust scored for Canada, while Hillary Knight scored for the USA.
The teams gathered at mid-ice after the game and saluted the crowd with emphatic stick taps.
Bad: The Sharks' Tomas Hertl donned a cardboard Justin Bieber mask while attempting a shot during the goalie save streak competition. And he missed his shot against St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington.
Tomas Hertl makes sure Jordan Binnington got his Justin Bieber showdown https://t.co/2kFnHiZHdL
Hertl didn't fare much better in the accuracy shooting contest. After hitting four targets in four shots, he needed 11 more shots to get his fifth target to finish in 17.161 seconds.
Good: High five. That's what Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin did a lot of after knocking down all five targets in 9.505 seconds to win the accuracy shooting competition.
Slavin overtook the Oilers' Leon Draisaitl, who knocked down his targets in 10.257 seconds.
Slavin is one of two players to record a sub-10-second time. Daniel Sedin did it in 8.9 seconds in 2011, when it became a timed event.
"I think I missed the first one and I was like, 'This is going to be a long night,'" Slavin said. "But then I started rolling there."
Bad: The New Jersey Devils' Nico Hischier had to wait for the broken plexiglass to be fixed in the accuracy contest and finished in 19.550 seconds.
Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, didn't hit his first target until his sixth shot.
Good: Shea Weber needed one shot to win the hardest shot competition. Then he topped that effort with his second shot. The Montreal Canadiens defenseman ripped a 105.9 mph shot on his first attempt before besting that seconds later at 106.5 mph.
Shea Weber with two absolute bombs to win Hardest Shot pic.twitter.com/fEGSTZLS8O
When asked what he would say to anyone who has had to block one of his shots, Weber had a one-word answer and a grin.
"Sorry," he said.
So, too, was the Capitals' John Carlson, who had shots of 102.4 mph and 104.5 mph while Chuck Berry's "Go, Johnny Go" blared just before Weber took his turn.
Good but needs improvement: The Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane needed overtime to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs' Mitch Marner in the "Shooting Stars" competition, which was like Skee-ball with a hockey puck.
Players stood on a platform 30 feet above the ice and behind the net and took turns shooting at targets set up on the ice below, each one with a point total attached to it. The debut of the competition might need some tweaking — the target farthest from the platform was worth just four points, while the one at mid-ice was worth 10.
"It's a little gimmicky," Kane said. "But at the same time, try to have fun with it. We had a little pact between us that we're going to shoot for the arch and try to get as many as you can to the 10-pointer."
Kane said he's more of a fan of "traditional" skill competitions, such as the puck-control relay, but said he understands creating nontraditional events can have its advantages.
Paul Skrbina covers the Predators and NHL for The Tennessean. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @PaulSkrbina.
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