Nikita Kucherov booed by Toronto crowd for 44-second skills challenge performance

TORONTO — Maybe Nikita Kucherov was saving it for the game?

The Tampa Bay Lightning star — and current NHL points leader — earned boos from the crowd when he seemingly dogged his way through a stickhandling challenge at the NHL’s skills competition on Friday.

Kucherov was one of nine skaters tapped to participate in the event. But the right wing seemed the least interested as he plodded through the assigned markers as fans loudly booed his slow progress before he popped his puck in the net after 44 seconds.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid won the competition in 25 seconds.

Was Kucherov upset by the boos? Likely not. The high-flying forward gamely acknowledged the crowd with a nice wave as he wrapped things up.

Kucherov didn’t win the $1 million prize awarded to the night’s top skills competitor — he was last overall with 0.5 points through the first six events — but there’s always Saturday’s 3-on-3 game, where he’ll play for Team Hughes, to make up for lost time.

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