Auston Matthews and John Tavares took part in the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competiton in San Jose on Friday night, with Matthews providing one of the night’s most memorable moments prior to the Accuracy Shooting event.

From Kendall Coyne blazing a trail in the Fastest Skater Competition to Thomas Chabot’s deke on Braden Holtby to Connor McDavid defending his speed-lap title, there were some memorable moments on skills night, but one of the biggest rises from the SAP Center crowd came in response to a tribute to Patrick Marleau by Auston Matthews just prior to his accuracy shooting attempt.

Paying homage to Marleau — who has already left an indelible mark on Matthews, Marner and the other young players on the Leafs roster by opening up his home to them in Toronto — in his California stomping grounds was an unexpected, thoughtful gesture that everyone in attendance genuinely appreciated (it was met with a standing ovation).

While Matthews ultimately didn’t win his competition — David Pastrnak took the title — he won the hearts of the San Jose fans at SAP Center as well as the Marleau family; this is no doubt what they’ll remember this part of the event for. It was quite the display of leadership, class, and a sense for the occasion by the recently-turned 21-year-old Matthews, who will captain the Atlantic Division during the All-Star Game itself.

And he might’ve won if not for the skin-tight jersey.

Both Tavares and Matthews took part in their own competitions and each had their moments. Prior to the start of the skills comp, every All-Star was introduced to the San Jose crowd, with Tavares and Matthews receiving vastly different receptions.

It’s not exactly Long Island — booing a player your team offered a contract to as a free agent once is a bit of a weird move — but it’s all in good fun and Tavares was a great sport about it.

The two All-Star Leafs took part in their own competitions, with Tavares going first in the puck control competition.

Tavares finished just a few seconds behind Johnny Gaudreau (who repeated as the winner this year) in the 2018 competition; his hands are elite and his history as a talented lacrosse player shines through as he scoops up pucks easily in the final obstacle portion of the event (Erik Karlsson, among others, opted to use their hands to place the puck on their stick blades). Unfortunately, he hit the board on one of them and then missed the net this time around.

The highlight of Tavares’ attempt was Matthews’ reaction to Tavares stumbling to finish the competition.

Following the puck control event came the save streak competition in which every skater took turns as the goaltenders tried to string together consecutive stops. Between the two Leafs on the ice, it was Matthews that made the most noise at the expense of Braden Holtby, who must be getting sick of Matthews after the Leafs forward beat him on Wednesday night in the final game before the break.

Matthews later scored another nice goal against greybeard Henrik Lundqvist, who went on to steal the show in this competition by making 12 consecutive saves.  It was Lundqvist’ save on Tavares’ shot that sealed his victory.

Ultimately, neither of the two Leafs won the competitions they took part in, but both put on a show, looked like they had a blast while doing it, and represented the organization well at the event. That’s what the All-Star Weekend is all about.

Matthews and Tavares will suit up for the All-Star game tonight beginning at 9:15 p.m. ET, when the Atlantic Division All-Stars take on the Metropolitan Division All-Stars.

John Tavares, Auston Matthews Discuss Skills Competition Experience