Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog scored his first NHL hat trick en route to a 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
The Colorado Avalanche finally beat the Washington Capitals — it’s been six games or three seasons since the Avs have managed that feat. However, that’s not the big story of the night.
Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog scored a hat trick — his first NHL hat trick, as it happens.
He got started early, very early. During his first shift, just 17 seconds into the game Landeskog corrals the puck at the red line and skates into the zone, stick handles past three Washington defenders while a fourth is poking him in the, er, pants. He fires off a wrist shot and scores:
Top shelf where mamma keeps the cookies.
Landeskog’s second goal of the game didn’t come until the third period. However, it was a memorable one. The Washington Capitals were on the power play. Nonetheless, Landeskog got a hold of the puck and was driving the net. Well this time the player — Dmitry Orlov this time — chasing Landeskog didn’t just poke him in the pants — he slashed Gabriel. (Landy is pretty good with the short-handed goals, having earned five in his career, so Orlov was right to be worried.)
In any case, there was enough distance between the two that the officials called for one of the most exciting plays in hockey — the penalty shot. Landeskog snakes his way toward goalie Philipp Grubauer. He makes a little deke right as he’s centered in front of Grubauer, and the goalie bites. That leaves Landeskog enough room to roof a wrist shot:
That put the Colorado Avalanche up 4-1.
Landeskog was perhaps a little more memorable in this, his shootout goal from a couple years ago:
We’ll take the plain old penalty shot in this game, though.
In the last couple minutes of the game, the Avalanche were leading with a score of 5-2. There was no chance for the Washington Capitals to pull their goalie because Brooks Orpik was sitting in the penalty box on a slashing penalty. (He deserved that shame — more on that in a moment.)
Play was buzzing around the Washington net. There were some big guns on the ice, including Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen who both had career nights. (More on that in a moment, too.) However, there was only one guy on the ice that the Avs wanted to see score — Landeskog.
Sure enough, MacKinnon, despite having a clear shot on net, passes the puck to Landeskog in the slot. Landeskog redirects it, but Grubauer saves it. The puck bounces right back to Landeskog, and the captain pokes it in:
That concluded Landeskog’s first NHL hat trick. Memorable celebrations are the huge hug MacKinnon gives him and the not one, not two, but three players who douse him with water as he skates past the bench.
Clearly the captain doesn’t mind since he started the tradition of celebrating first with a little face dousing.
The only down side to the night was that Brooks Orpik broke our rookie — well, one of our rookies considering there are several. He broke our newest rookie, the newly-arrived Vladislav Kamenev whom the Avs acquired in the Matt Duchene trade:
It was pretty much a clean hit, but it broke Kamenev’s arm. He only got to play 4:06 with his new team.
On a lighter note, Rantanen scored a goal and earned assists on Nathan MacKinnon’s first-period goal, Colin Wilson‘s second-period goal and Landeskog’s hat trick goal. That four-point night is a career-high for him.
MacKinnon scored that goal and earned an assist on every other Avs goal except the penalty shot. That five-point night is a career-high for him.
After the game, Landeskog won first-star honors. When talking to Lauren Gardner about the hat trick, he laughed and remarked that the magic was in his mustache (which he grows for every Movember.)
Gardner later asked Rantanen about that remark, and the young winger giggled and said, “I think he looks like a little Viking from Sweden.”
Captain Gabriel Landeskog scored his first NHL hat trick for the Colorado Avalanche wearing a Movember ‘stache that apparently makes him look like a little Viking. It’s a better year for Colorado when everyone is feeling so loose.