Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi scored his first career hat trick against the Central Division rival Nashville Predators during the team’s 9-4 victory.
The Colorado Avalanche got a steal when they signed winger Joonas Donskoi in the offseason. He was their first signing on Free Agency Day, and said signing made it seem like the Avs were going to be quiet in free agency.
Well, whether they were quiet or not in free agency, they got a gem in the San Jose Sharks’ third-line winger. I had thought he was destined for the third line here in Colorado, too. However, on a healthy Avs club, he’s solidly on the second line. On this injury-riddled Avs club, he’s skating on the first line.
Last night, in his fifth NHL year, Joonas Donskoi scored his first career hat trick.
The hattie was part of a wild night that saw the Avalanche score six goals in eight minutes and go on to beat the Nashville Predators 9-4. Donskoi’s three goals were numbers three, eight, and nine on the night for Colorado.
Man, that’s crazy talking about goals eight and nine in a game. You just don’t see scores like that in the modern NHL.
Anyway, the first goal came in the second period. The Avs were down 3-2 after former Av — and can we be grow-up adults and stop booing him already — Matt Duchene put the Predators up for the first time in the game.
The play started with Donskoi moving in to help block Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. He did the hard work in the dirty areas and was rewarded with his sixth goal of the season:
As I remarked in a
, I just love spin-o-rama goals.
In the nine goals recorded by Colorado, seven different Avs scored. Joonas Donskoi was the only repeat offender.
His second goal came late in the third. It was the final tally of that wild six-goals-in-eight-minutes ride. It also represents a different breed of goal. Defenseman Erik Johnson made the initial shot, and it looked like it should be his goal.
However, you can see that Donskoi tips it in:
That’s just Joonas again, taking up residence in front of the goalie. By now, Pekka Rinne had been chased from the game and Juuse Saros was in net. Donskoi’s second of the evening was the third the Nashville goalie let in.
The score was 8-3 at that point. However, the Colorado Avalanche had luckily learned their lesson about letting the foot off the gas. Or, the Don had learned that lesson. Because with just over two minutes left in the game, Colorado was on the power play.
Duchene, apparently in frustration, had executed a two-handed slash against Sam Girard. You can’t do that, and he was sitting in the box.
Well, with Colorado on the power play, Donskoi decided to floor it. No one fed him this goal. He picked up the puck in his own zone, stick handled past defenders, and wristed his shot past Saros.
What a beauty of a goal.
Besides the obvious benefits of an Avs win and Donskoi’s success, I love one other aspect of this goal. As we all know, our captain is out with an injury. Well, a while ago, Gabriel Landeskog established the tradition of dousing players’ faces for milestones — either first NHL goals or first NHL hat tricks.
The Avs players kept the tradition alive and then some, Donskoi had to be soaked after he skated by the Avs bench to celebrate his goal.
Donskoi earned first star honors for his feat. He remarked after the game that he though he hadn’t scored a hat trick since he was five years old.
Here’s to hoping Colorado Avalanche players score more hat tricks this season.