The styrofoam targets made their return to NHL Accuracy Competition, but for Brock Nelson, it was an all-new experience as the New York Islanders center participated and won the NHL Accuracy contest at the All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night.
Nelson finished the preliminary round with the second-best score, hitting four targets in 12.126. He held the best overall time until Connor McDavid, the league's leading scorer, went four-for-four and finished with a lightning-quick 9.397. Nelson and McDavid were joined by Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers and the Calgary Flames' Nazem Kadri in the semi-finals.
In the semi-final round, with two nets alongside each other, Nelson squared off one-on-one with Panarin and defeated the Rangers All-Star. In the other semi-final, Kadri upset McDavid by a split second setting up a final between Kadri and the Islanders' leading scorer. The Edmonton Oilers star incredibly hit all eight targets on eight shots but took a little too much time stick-handling in the semi-finals, and Kadri took advantage.
In the final, Nelson wearing a backward hat and the Islanders' reverse retro Fisherman jersey, looked as confident as could be, hitting the four targets in five shots in 12.419 seconds to be crowned the winner. He is the second Islander to win the Accuracy Shooting competition after John Tavares won it in 2016.
"There was a lot of talk early, guys were going, 'What was the best route?' I was going low left, low right, upper left, upper right. Just kind of stuck with that," Nelson said of his strategy according to NHL.com
"It was fun, it was cool to win that, not really knowing what to expect. Just go out and have a good time. It's something I'll remember, for sure."
Nelson, and teammate Ilya Sorokin will represent the Metropolitan Division at Saturday's All-Star Game while the newly acquired Bo Horvat plays for the Pacific Division.