It was a fun weekend for hockey fans at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri, from the exciting action during the skills competition on Friday night to Saturday night where the best NHL players from each division got to show off their speed, skill and leadership. It was a typical hockey game with goals being scored, saves were made but of course no hard hitting but nevertheless it was fun to watch the elites having fun together. The 2020 NHL Skills Competition began with Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders winning the Fastest Skater in 13.175 seconds, Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis. Blues won the Consecutive Saves with 10, Jacob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes won Most Accurate Shooter in just 9.505 seconds, midway through the skills competition the Elite Women’s Canadian All-Stars beats United States All-stars 2 - 1, Melodie Daoust notched the game winner early in the second as Hilary Knight scored for U.S. midway through the second, Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadians won the Fastest Slapshot for the third straight year with a 106.5 MPH shot and lastly, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks won the first Shooting Stars competition with 22 points.
For the first game, the two Eastern Conference teams dualed it out and it wouldn’t take long for the Atlantic Division to score first as Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning found the league’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins who tipped one by Brendan Holtby, Washington Capitals for the 1 - 0 lead just 0:25 in. Seconds later, Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings found this year’s NHL hardest slapshot winner, Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens who ripped one by Holtby again for a 2 - 0 lead but the Metropolitan Division would respond as John Carlson, Washington Capitals shot one passed Frederik Andersen,Toronto Maple Leafs to make it a one-goal game. Roughly a minute later, Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils would tie the game as he floated by the defense and scored five-hole. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets made a beautiful back pass to T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals who wrist shot one by Anderson to make it 3 - 2 Metropolitan. Jones would get a goal of his own but the Atlantic would quickly respond as Anthony Dunclair, Ottawa Senators would score his first career All-Star game goal and quickly thereafter, Pastrank got his second of the game. The game would continue with Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers made a nice cross crease pass to Hischier to give the Metropolitan Division a 5 - 4 lead but Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning would shut the door the rest of the way. The Metropolitan Division lead would slowly diminish as Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers, Victor Hedman, and Anthony Duclair all scored on Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins. Pastrnak and Dunclair would pick up hat tricks as they both scored on empty nets to give the Atlantic the 9 - 5 win.
The next game to follow was the two Western Conference teams, the first two minutes would start off slow but the action would pick up with Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks delivered a laser pass to Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames who scored on Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues for the 1 - 0 Pacific Division lead. It wouldn't take long for Tkachuk to pick up an assist as he delivered a no-look pass to Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers who put it past Binnington and then Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks scored on a breakaway glove side for a 3 - 0 Pacific Division lead. Binnington did not play like the winner of the Consecutive Saves during the skills competition, luckily for him, the Central Division perked up as Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets ripped one by Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks to cut the deficit to two. Shortly after, David Perron, St. Louis Blues and Patrck Kane, Chicago Blackhawks would score making both division at a deadlock at three. It was the Pacfifc Division who struck next with a goal by Huges but only for Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars to quickly respond with the equalizer, 4 - 4. The night would not start off well for Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets as Draisaitl one timed it home for the Pacfic Division to regain the lead. It wouldn't start off well for David Rittich, Calgary Flames either as Patrick Kane scores five-hole to tie the game. Tkachuk would score his second giving the Pacfic Division the lead for good, afterwards, Draisaitl picked up his third goal followed by Hertl scoring three for a total of four goals on the game as the Pacific Division rolled over the Central Division, 10 - 5.
The grand finale, the Atlantic Division against the Pacific Division for the 1M check shared among the winning team, another exciting factor, the Tkachuk brothers, Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators and Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames would face-off against each other. Only 0:23 in, Pastrnak found Hedman who buried it past Markstrom for the Atlantic Division lead then B. Tkachuk found Huberdeau out in front for the 2 - 0 Atlantic Division lead. Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights would get the first goal for the Pacific Division as he made a sweet deke fooling Anderson. It looked as if Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers was going to tie the game up when Andersen made an incredible diving glove save, hands down the save of the weekend by a longshot. A mere 0:08 later, Pastranak would go backhand forehand on Markstrom making it 3 -1. Things would take a sudden turn as Vasilevskiy played the exact opposite like he did in the first game, he allowed a breakaway goal from Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks then later on, another goal for Draisaitl. Dunclair made the smooth pass to Bertuzzi for the Atlantic Division to retake the lead 4 - 3. The lead wouldn’t last forever as Pettersson scored blocker side on Vasilevskiy, a few minutes would go by with back and forth action when Hertl scored on a breakaway for the dagger, 5 - 4 Pacific Division victory.
Here are some highlights for the 2020 NHL All-Star game, David Pastranak, Anthony Dunclair and Leion Draisaitl all picked up hat-tricks with Tomas Hertl with five goals along with David Pastrank winning the events MVP. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals and Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins opted to skip the All-Star game to rest their bodies for the second half of the season. The coaches and organization agreed with their decision despite the one game suspension given to them. It should be a very tight race for the final playoff spots as we head closer to April, it's time to look at the real excitement, the sixteen teams that will be fighting for the cup, Lord Stanley. There are a lot of questions heading into the second half of the season, will the Pittsburgh Penguins pass the Washington Capitals for the best team in the Metropolitan Division? What teams are going to represent the Pacific Division in the playoffs? Will the Boston Bruins be able to hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Atlantic Division? With this long break, will it hurt the Boston Bruins chances of beating the Winnipeg Jets? Will Tuukka Rask benefit from all this long rest after suffering a concussion back in mid January? We will soon find out on Friday, January 31st at 8:00 P.M. Eastern time.