LOS ANGELES – Big Mike Smith and little Ryker Kesler stole the show at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
The towering Arizona goalie scored a 188-foot goal during the Four Line Challenge on Saturday night, and the 6-year-old son of Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler scored on Montreal goalie Carey Price during the Shootout.
The Atlantic Division won the overall competition and chose to face the Metropolitan Division on Sunday in the second semifinal period of the All-Star Game, which was changed last year to a 3-on-3 tournament among teams from each of the NHL's four divisions.
NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid won the Fastest Skater competition, and Montreal defenseman Shea Weber had the hardest shot in the All-Star field for the third consecutive season. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby won the Accuracy Shooting competition, and he joined Weber and Boston's Brad Marchand as the only adults to score in the shootout.
The event ended with a shootout competition between the Atlantic and Pacific teams, but just four of the 20 skaters scored. One of them was Ryker, who beat the grinning Price five-hole and celebrated with a two-fisted pump while his All-Star dad filmed him on his phone.
The best early moment belonged to Smith, who shot a puck from the crease into a tiny slot at ice level in the middle of the far net. Before Ryker Kesler seized control of the shootout, Smith's goal was the most memorable moment of this relaxed Saturday afternoon of annual silliness preceding the game on Sunday.
"If anybody's going to do it, it's him for sure," Wild All-Star goalie Devan Dubnyk said. "I thought he was going to go for the top corner. He's the only one of us that could actually have a chance."
Smith's shot was the highlight of the Four Line Challenge, the newest addition to the Skills Competition. Essentially a version of the on-ice promotions all around the world that turn hockey into a version of miniature golf, the NHL stars largely missed the tiny targets until Smith let loose with his stunner.
Ryker Kesler also got his dad's turn in the Four Line Challenge but missed from mid-ice.
The Wild connection
Dubnyk sat on the bench with his son, Nate.
"He was loving it out there," the goalie said. "He sat on my shoulders and watched the fastest skater and told me how fast guys were. He loves the mascots, that's still his favorite thing. It makes you want to keep coming here so they get a chance to experience it."
Dubnyk also scored a goal himself in the goalie goal portion of the relay.
"I wasn't as nervous as last year," he said. "Same mentality. Keep shooting pucks until they tell me to stop. I think I shot three more after I scored."
Wild defenseman Ryan Suter went 0-for-5 in a one-time competition.
"I wish I could have hit the net there," he said. "A lot of things are going through your mind. The first one went a little low, the second one a little too high, and then I just fell apart there."
He made amends later by scoring from up top in the Four Line Challenge.
"I told [coach Bruce Boudreau] I'm not a half wall guy," Suter said. "I've got to be up top, then I'll be able to make it."
Staff writer Michael Russo contributed to this report.