Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin earned a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in a decisive 7-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Colorado Avalanche picked up forward Valeri Nichushkin over the summer on an extremely unlikely “show me” contract. A lot of fans, myself included, were angry. The Dallas Stars had bought him out because he couldn’t score.
Well, they must be pretty angry now. Tonight, Nichushkin scored his seventh goal of the season. What’s more, said goal completed a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
The first part of the GHHT was a fight. It wasn’t a very good fight. While I opined in a
that Nichushkin could always try his hand at being an enforcer if he couldn’t score, Nuke really isn’t a fighter.
The Avs were up 3-1, so I don’t know that they needed the fight right there. However, Deryk Engelland wanted to go, and Nichushkin answered the call.
The second part of the GHHT was an assist. It came on a goal by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — his second of the game, actually. The goal occurred late in the second period:
That marked Nichushkin’s sixth assist of the season.
Once Nuke had the fight and the assist under his belt, everyone was just watching for the goal to complete the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
It didn’t come until late in the third period with the team already up 6-3. It was a really weird play — actually, it’s hilarious. A clearing attempt hit him in the visor, and he just kind of jerked his head in reaction. And the puck went in the net.
Boy, imagine going 91 games without scoring, and now the dang puck is just careening in all the time, even when you don’t mean it to.
- Our captain, Gabriel Landeskog, skated in his 600th NHL game ever, all with the Colorado Avalanche. Can you believe it? I can remember when he got drafted and was named captain just a year later. Man, how time flies:
He looks so young in his rookie picture!
- Nikita Zadorov when asked how the third period tonight was different than the last two games: “Yeah, we didn’t lose.” Oh, Z.
- Poor Andre Burakovsy took not one but two shots to the face. The first chipped his tooth.
The second just made him bleed… again.
- Bellemare has become a thorn in Vegas’ side. The former Knight scored two tonight against his old team. Last time the two met, he recorded a goal and two assists. You love to see it.
Final thought: The Colorado Avalanche were ruthless tonight. And you love to see that.
The Colorado Avalanche can now head into the break on a high note. They’ve answered the questions that came up in the last two games. Now they’re off for some Christmas cheer.