Colorado Avalanche left wing, and captain, Gabriel Landeskog scored his third career hat trick to beat the New Jersey Devils.
Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is a skill player. I threw a little shade at coach Jared Bednar for putting our cap in on the shootout, claiming he’s not a skill player.
Landy: Really? Hold my Gatorade.
Gabriel Landeskog and his third career hat trick handed the New Jersey Devils their first loss of the season. He scored three different ways — and, not that there’s anything wrong with it, none of them were on the empty net.
This was overall a great game by the Colorado Avalanche except for special teams, but let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on the fact that the Avs played a full 60. Boy, look what happens when you leave it all out on the ice for the whole game.
It was a good game. Eight goals, Landy’s hat trick, and a fight. It would have been funny if it were Landeskog who fought — and it wouldn’t be unusual to see our power forward captain to fight. However, this time it was our wild mustang, Nikita Zadorov:
True confession: I wanted the Colorado Avalanche to draft Pavel Zacha in 2015, but he went before the Avs’ #10 draft pick. Who did Colorado get? Mikko Rantanen, he of the four-point night and the player who did not get his butt beat. 😳
Anyway, let’s get to Landeskog’s hat trick, which carried the night.
Landeskog’s Sexy Goal
Gabriel Landeskog’s first goal of the night is the one that put paid to my silly “Landy is not a skill player” statement. Gabe has speed. And Gabe has stick skills. The proof is in the pudding, or in his first goal of the night.
I mentioned earlier that the Colorado Avalanche’s special teams weren’t gold tonight. This particular goal came while the Devils were down a player thanks to Kyle Palmieri’s interference on Nathan MacKinnon.
Landeskog speeds up the ice after taking the pass from Mikko Rantanen. He skates around Devils defenseman Andy Greene. Lightning fast, he snaps a wrister that beats goalie Keith Kinkaid top shelf:
Poor Pavel Zacha, looking on from the circle — it really wasn’t his night.
Landeskog’s Gritty Goal
Landeskog is not afraid to play hockey on his knees. Which is good because he seems to have taken over Mikko Rantanen’s penchant for falling down. It’s also amazing that he didn’t break his stick because he was in the middle of getting cross-checked to the ice at the time.
The goal came at the halfway mark of the second period with the Avalanche down 3-2. I’m going to be honest — I was annoyed when the Avs let in that third goal. Well, Cap likes proving me wrong.
The play started with one of the big stars of the night, Rantanen. He scoops the puck up down low and looks for the open man. He’s probably looking for Nathan MacKinnon, or, at least, Gabriel Landeskog. Unfortunately, as noted above, Landy is busy getting checked to the ice.
As Rantanen finally finds defenseman Ian Cole, Landeskog finds a way to twist around like a cat as he’s falling to the ice. He gets just enough wood on the puck that Cole one-times to deflect it in a way Kinkaid isn’t expecting:
Just like that, the Avalanche have tied the game again.
Ian Cole, who’s just seven games into his tenure with the Avs, said of his new captain:
"“Enough can’t be said for the leadership he shows.”"
Landeskog’s Hockey Goal
After Landeskog’s second goal, I got to thinking about something Gabe has said — he tends to score goals in bunches. In the first five games of the season, Landy had only one goal. I didn’t focus on that because I had noticed that scoring in spurts had characterized his career.
Well, Landeskog got a goal in the shootout loss to the New York Rangers — not a shootout goal, as I mentioned, but he did score. He also earned an assist on the Avs’ only other goal in the game, a snipe by MacKinnon.
Anyway, for some reason, after Gabe’s second goal of the night, I wondered if a hat trick might not be in our captain’s future. I had planned to write about his sexy goal with an aside about his gritty goal. But I was really feeling a Landy hatty.
So, I wasn’t all that surprised when Landeskog scored his third of the game, which just happened to be the game-winner:
That’s just a pretty hockey goal. Rantanen does some hard work down low. As I saw Landy open, I knew he was going to get the puck and one-time it, and that’s exactly what happened. Like I said, not an empty-netter to score a hatty — though that’s perfectly fine — but rather a beauty of a hard-working goal.
Altitude TV analyst Mark Rycroft, himself a former Avalanche player, said it best about Landeskog:
"“He’s the man, he’s the show, he’s the captain. They will win because he wills them to win.”"
Tonight, that’s exactly what happened. Our captain put the team on his back and got the Colorado Avalanche back in the win column.
Landeskog has now scored the last three of the Colorado Avalanche’s hat tricks. These three NHL hat tricks make him one of only six players in Avalanche history to record three (or more) career hat tricks in burgundy and blue:
- Sakic (10)
- Forsberg (7)
- Hejudik (5)
- Kamensky (3)
- Lemieux (3)
And now Landeskog. In case you’re wondering, Nathan MacKinnon has two…
After tonight’s contest, the Avs head south to North Carolina to play the Hurricanes in a matinee game on Saturday.