No one gave New York Islanders Mathew Barzal, or anyone else, to beat Edmonton Oilers Conor McDavid at the Skills Competition’s fastest skater; but he did.
The $30,000 prize was as good as Connor McDavid‘s for the NHL’s fastest skater event. New York Islanders Mathew Barzal didn’t stand a chance at beating McDavid. No one was given a chance, they were just playing for second place.
To be fair McDavid has won the competition three years running. No one has been able to beat the Oilers generational talent. And typically, he’s won the event by a comfortable margin.
Enter Mathew Barzal.
Barzal Did It
Barzal was 0.402 of a second behind McDavid last season. Coming into the contest this year there was no indication that Barzal could de-thrown McDavid.
But with a 13.175 lap, Batzal edged Connor McDavid by the finest of margins. He beat out McDavid by 0.040 of a second.
Barzal picked up most of his speed through the turn. Typically players stop pumping their legs in the turns. Especially after Miro Heiskanen fell in 2019. But Barzal just kept cutting. They showed him hitting up to 40 Km/h in the turn. That’s 24.86 mph for American’s.
Mathew Barzal: 13.175
Conor McDavid: 13.215
Chris Kreider: 13.509
Jack Eichel: 13.540
Nathan MacKinnon: 13.895
Anthony Duclair: 14.005
Travis Konecny: 14.113
Quinn Hughes: 14.263
Watching Barzal take his lap you knew he was going to post a good time and 13.175 certainly was but you knew that McDavid would post a good time himself. So would Barzal’s run be enough? Barzal’s 13.175-second run was better than McDavid posted in 2019 (13.378) so it was a good start.
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McDavid’s run looked incredible. The way he carries speed in the corner and how low he gets to stay in control is incredible. But it wasn’t enough. And so there was a new fastest skater, and he’s a New York Islander.