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Ekman-Larsson to participate in NHL Skills Competition Passing Challenge

FILE - In this April 2, 2107, file photo, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23), of Sweden, passes the puck as Los Angeles Kings Adrian Kempe (39), of Sweden, defends during an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Hartog, File)

The NHL All-Star Skill Competition takes place Saturday night and Coyotes’ defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be involved as a participant in the Passing Challenge.

Ekman-Larsson leads the Coyotes in time-on-ice this season and despite his league worst negative-36 in plus/minus, the seven-year veteran was named to the Pacific Division All-Star team.

He will be one of eight participants in the Passing Challenge. The challenge will consists of three passing skills and whoever finishes the skills in the fastest time will be the winner.

The first skill consists of target passes where participants pass the puck to targets that randomly light up. Then players complete a give and go sequence in the neutral zone between the blue lines. Finally, they must complete one pass over a barricade into a mini net at the other end of the ice.

In the first two skills players have to successfully make four passes. They will only have to make the cross ice barricade pass once.

Ekman-Larsson has 15 assists this season for the Coyotes. He has 175 career assists, which ranks 19th all-time in Coyotes franchise history.

He will also participate in the Save Streak competition where all 36 skaters will take turns on breakaways against five goalies. The goalie who puts together the most saves in a row wins the competition.

The All-Star game will be played on Sunday in Tampa Bay and Ekman-Larsson will be representing the Pacific Division. The Pacific Division will be looking to redeem themselves after finishing runners-up to the Metropolitan Division in 2017.

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