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Eichel finishes third in Fastest Skater competition

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jack Eichel had a brief hitch at the start and it cost him in a close finish Saturday night at the Fastest Skater event that kicked off the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

The Buffalo Sabres' center picked up speed as he flew around the Amalie Arena ice, finishing third in the event with a time of 13.828 seconds.

"I think I tried to jump the gun wanting to get a good jump and I ended up double-taking," Eichel said. "Your path is a big thing. It wasn't something I did any homework on but you'd probably like to take the turns a little wider to keep your speed. I thought I tried to cut it a little too tight and it might have worked against me but it was fun."

Edmonton's Connor McDavid defended his title at 13.454 and earned the $25,000 prize to the winner. Tampa Bay's Brayden Point was second at 13.579.

The full standings:
Connor McDavid EDM 13.454
Brayden Point, TBL 13.579
Jack Eichel, BUF 13.828
Nathan MacKinnon COL 14.056
Rickard Rakell ANA 14.181
Zach Werenski CBJ 14.250
Noah Hanifin CAR 14.317
Josh Bailey NYI 14.413

In the new Save Streak competition, a shootout challenge to test goalies' ability to make consecutive saves, Eichel was stopped on both of his attempts by Vegas' Marc-Andre Fleury as the Golden Knights' goaltender stymied Atlantic Division shooters. Fleury made 14 straight saves at one stretch to win the competition.

"I skated a lap quick, then took two quick shootout moves, went 0 and 2 and my night was over," Eichel joked. "But it was a good experience to be able to go out there, take part in it and be with the guys. It was cool.

"I don't know if it says more about him or the Atlantic Division shootout skills," Eichel added of Fleury. "You'd think with some of the guys on our team, we'd be able to score. But he's an athletic goalie and he made some good saves."

In other events, St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo won the Passing Challenge, Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau took the Puck Control Relay, Vancouver rookie Brock Boeser won Accuracy Shooting and Washington's Alex Ovechkin won the Hardest Shot at 101.3 mph.

Sabres' bounceback week puts Eichel in good mood for his big weekend

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