Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog scored his second career hat trick just one month after scoring his first.
What is it about Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog? He goes six years of his NHL career without a hat trick. Then, in his seventh year in the league, he scores two hat tricks just one month apart. And he does it against two of the best teams in the NHL — first against the Washington Capitals and now against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
(What is it about this Tampa team? Nathan MacKinnon scored his first career hat trick against the Bolts in 2015.)
Anyway, the Avalanche lost 6-5 to the Lightning, but it’s still exciting to see an Avs player get a hat trick.
The first goal happened near the end of the period. Colorado had already allowed four goals and scored none. Nail Yakupov, newly back from being a healthy and then unhealthy scratch, sends the puck across the ice to Landeskog. Gabe makes a nifty move in front of former Avs/current Bolts goalie Peter Budaj. He dekes the goalie then sends the puck in with a backhand:
Now, part of that is Landeskog doing what captains have to do. His team is down by four, so he’s got to get the ball rolling. The other thing I like about this goal is its prettiness. Landeskog tends to bang the puck in a lot, especially from his corner office in the slot. This is a slot goal, too, but it’s a more of a finesse goal.
The Tampa Bay Lightning got another goal early in the third period, putting the Avalanche down 5-1. So, the captain put his team on his shoulders again. Tyson Barrie was on the point and got a shot on net. Landeskog gave it just a little redirection to score his second goal of the night:
Noteworthy: That goal also marked Landeskog’s 300th point in his NHL career.
Just over two minutes later, the Colorado Avalanche go on the power play when Bolts skater Tyler Johnson hooks Avs rookie Samuel Girard. Just like Yogi Berra once famously said, it was deja vu all over again. Tyson Barrie is on the point, this time quarterbacking the power play. He fires a shot, and Landeskog deflects it past Budaj:
Note the celebration here — or lack of celebration. The team knows they still have a hill to climb, being down 5-3 and all. So there’s not a “big celebration” (You know what I’m referring to). Nonetheless, that deflection comprised Landeskog’s third goal — making this his second career hat trick.
Gabriel Landeskog also had a hand in the two other goals scored by the Colorado Avalanche — both credited to Nathan MacKinnon, in fact. Now one of them was a Nate Dawg special — coast to coast, split the D, shoot a laser of a shot:
No question that’s MacKinnon’s goal.
For his second goal of the evening, MacKinnon essentially stood in the slot while
It’s said that MacKinnon tips the puck past Budaj. However, neither Zadorov nor MacKinnon reacts that way — it looks like Zadorov’s goal the whole way.
In any case, Landeskog made both goals happen. It wasn’t enough to lift Colorado past Tampa Bay, not even quite enough for the loser point. However, you can’t ask more of a captain than a five-point night which includes a hat trick.
Noteworthy: Gabriel Landeskog is the first Avalanche player with two hat tricks in one season since Milan Hejduk, 2006-07.
Side Note About Erik Johnson
The Colorado Avalanche are going to be without their cornerstone defenseman for at least a couple days — I’m calling it now. Late in the second period, Johnson did a stupid:
Now, Vladislav Namestnikov was in no ways hurt — he didn’t even miss a shift. Conversely, Johnson was ejected from the game. The (useless) NHL Department of Player Safety is biased against the Avs. Even though Namestnikov wasn’t hurt, they’re sure to suspend Johnson for at least two games.
Well, let’s not focus on the final score or EJ’s impending doom. The Colorado Avalanche captain, Gabriel Landeskog, put the team on his back and nearly tied the thing up. And that’s what a leader does.