Call him Mr. Third Period. Call him the Blackhawk Killer.
Or you could simply call him Flash – as in, putting up points faster than you can blink, and at the most opportune times.
Avalanche forward Tomas Fleischmann had his second consecutive impressive performance against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night, netting his first career hat trick to help the Avalanche earn a 4-3 victory.
Two nights earlier, the Czech Republic native put on a clinic in the final 2:24 of the third period, scoring the game-tying goal and assisting on tallies by Matt Duchene
and Ryan O’Reilly as the Avalanche battled back to pick up a 7-5 win over Chicago at Pepsi Center.
Fleischmann was even more extraordinary on Wednesday night, scoring twice on the power play and adding the eventual game-winning goal with the teams at even strength, with all three goals coming within a 10:12 span during the final frame.
“It was just one of those nights where everything is going your way, especially in the third period,” said Fleischmann. “We expected that it was going to be a tight game, and we went into the third 1-1, and the power play was the key point in the game.”
Fleischmann’s performance was not only notable; it was also a little slice of history. He became the first Avalanche player to ever score three goals in the third period since the team moved to Denver. The last member of the Avalanche to score three goals in any period was Joe Sakic, who tallied three times during the first period of a March 13, 2003 contest at Columbus.
Going even further, the last franchise player to score three goals in the third period was Owen Nolan on Oct. 29, 1991 against the Winnipeg Jets at the Quebec Colisee. The only other NHL player with three goals in the third period this season was Fleischmann’s former Capitals teammate, Alexander Semin, on Nov. 11 against Tampa Bay.
Fleischmann has clearly fit seamlessly into the Avalanche’s lineup since being acquired from Washington on Nov. 30. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound winger has notched six points (4g/2a) in his last two games and overall has totaled 10 points (5g/5a) in seven contests with the Avalanche, including four multi-point efforts.
“He’s playing his game. I think we’re trying to put him in a position where he can succeed,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. “Right now he’s playing with Matt and they’ve seemed to find some chemistry. I think it’s a fresh start for him to start over, and he’s playing well right now.”