A stack of goals were scored in the KHL All-Star game. A record 34 found the back of the net in St. Petersburg as the Eastern Conference squad beat their Western rivals 18-16.
Two star skippers – Jaromir Jagr and Aleksey Yashin – lead the KHL’s cream of the crop for the third year in a row.
A major difference this time out being that instead of a foreign squad versus Russian select, the contest was divided by conference.
St. Petersburg’s ice palace was the venue as Jagr sought to maintain his perfect record as captain, but before all that there were some super skills to savour.
SKA’s Maksim Afinogenov proved himself without equal in the speed skating contest, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Then it was time to have some fun with the puck. The control relay was won by Team Yashin, and that was followed by the shooting accuracy contest which produced a result few would have expected.
World class strikers such as Jagr, Yashin and Fedorov were outshone by Chris Simon, who hit all four targets with just five shots.
Another sensation was produced in the hardest shot competition, where Denis Kulyash broke the world record for the fastest slap shot with a blistering speed of 110 miles per hour.
In doing so, Avangard’s defensemen edged out previous record holder Zdeno Chara by some four miles per hour.
That is how it came to probably the most exciting part of the superskills – the shoot-out.
It was reigning world youth champion Evgeny Kuznetsov, who invented the most impressive way to cash in, with both his successful and failed attempts signalling a new rising star.
After a short break, the stars were back to the rink for the main event. Fans of tough hits may have felt a little short-changed as this contest was all about poise, skill and in general, great ice hockey: one great Czech versus another, Jaromir Jagr scoring past Dominic Hasek; Legend of the sport Sergey Fedorov firing from the blue line; one of the KHL’s most intelligent players – Atlant’s Sergey Mozyakin levelling matters in style.
Tastes differ, but anyone could have chosen a goal they liked – 34 in total, with the final score 18-16. It was Team Jagr's Eastern selection claiming victory for the third straight time
Although All-Star games have never been about winners and losers, the stakes will be raised miles higher very shortly…the KHL play-offs face off on February 23.
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