Some of the biggest stars from around the league traveled to Vegas to participate in the NHL’s All-Star festivities. Friday night was highlighted by the Skills Competition, while Saturday featured the All-Star Game tournament. As it always does, All-Star Weekend provided hockey fans with a number of amazing highlights from the participating players. Here are some of the most notable player performances from the 2022 NHL All-Star weekend.
Trevor Zegras didn’t make the All-Star Game, but still had a chance to shine at All-Star Weekend. The league invited Zegras to Vegas to participate in the Breakaway Challenge during the Skills Competition. With the number of viral plays Zegras has made this season, the expectations for him were very high. And Zegras did not disappoint. He paid tribute to the 2004 movie “Dodgeball”, donning an Average Joe’s uniform on the ice.
For his breakaway, he was blindfolded while several mascots threw dodgeballs at him. He then proceeded to show off his outstanding stickhandling ability, holding the puck on his stick while the blade was aimed downwards. He capped off the performance by doing a 360 and scoring a spinning goal. This was an absolutely amazing display of talent from Zegras, and the exact reason why he was sent to this competition. Some antics from Jack Hughes and celebrity scorer Jon Hamm somehow had this goal ranked third in the contest, but this was by far and away the most impressive shot.
Freddy Andersen’s Saves
Moving onto highlights from the actual All-Star Game, Freddy Andersen gave us some early ones from the Pacific vs. Metropolitan game. Midway through the first, Oilers star Connor McDavid got loose for a breakaway attempt. Normally these opportunities end with the puck behind the net, but Andersen didn’t allow it to happen. McDavid rapidly deked the puck and attempted to slide it under Andersen’s pads, but Andersen quickly lowered his pads to stop the chance.
This wasn’t the only outstanding save Andersen made in this first game. Mark Stone also had a breakaway chance against him, but Andersen poked the puck away and sent Stone tumbling into the boards. It was an overall nice showing from Andersen, who only allowed three goals in 20 minutes’ worth of work between the two games. It should also be noted Andersen registered the uncommon goalie assist on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s opening championship goal, further adding to his impressive day.
Jordan Kyrou’s breakout continued throughout All-Star Weekend. He started by beating the favorite Connor McDavid in the Fastest Skater competition with a time of 13.55 seconds. He continued with a big performance in the Central’s win against the Atlantic Division. Kyrou registered four points in the game with an even two goals and two assists. He got the opening goal in that contest, taking a pass from Clayton Keller to get a snapshot by Andrei Vasilevskiy’s glove side. Kyrou also had a helper on the Central’s second goal, sending a long pass to Alex DeBrincat.
In the second half, he registered another assist on a Roman Josi goal and got another goal for himself. This time he got a bouncing puck past Jack Campbell to give the Central a two-goal lead en route to a win. He added one assist to Nazem Kadri in the championship game loss. That brought his total to five points, which was the highest total of the day. The Blues and their fans have to be ecstatic about Kyrou’s performance amidst an already fantastic season for the 23-year-old. This performance will surely keep Kyrou’s confidence high heading into the second half.
Another young player who made a huge impact during All-Star Weekend was Jack Hughes. Like his fellow American Zegras, Hughes was impressed during the Breakaway Challenge. Hughes relied more on showmanship, using a bit of magic to make a young kid in a Hughes jersey appear to help him on a goal. His act was ranked 1 point better than Zegras’, probably the winning attempt if not for Jon Hamm’s bias for Alex Pietrangelo.
Hughes also dominated in the All-Star Game tournament, getting 2 points in each game. In the first game, he took a feed from Adam Pelech to beat Thatcher Demko and give the Metropolitan a 4-3 lead. He hit an empty netter later in the contest to secure the win. In the championship game, he added an assist to Chris Kreider and a third goal, this time past Cam Talbot. Despite his big four-point day, Hughes did not win MVP for the winning Metropolitan Division. Even though he lost out on some additional accolades, All-Star Weekend was a massive success for the young Devils star.
No All-Star Game coverage is complete without making mention of the game’s MVP. That honor went to seven-time All-Star and Metropolitan team captain Claude Giroux. He had a very similar stat line to Jack Hughes with four points across the two games. What gave Giroux the edge over Hughes was probably his 2 goals in the championship game, which was decided by two goals. His first goal broke the tie in the first half, while his second gave the Metropolitan team an insurance goal for the 5-3 win.
It’s also worth noting his aggressiveness on the offensive side, registering a whopping eight shots in the semifinals. His goal in the first game was also the most impressive of his three. Giroux went coast to coast, leaning into his backhand close before quickly switching to his forehand to beat John Gibson. The award is a well-deserved honor for the Flyers captain, who’s having a great season on a Flyers team that’s not having such a great season.
Featured image courtesy of NHL
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