|"Bring on the hats! ... What? No hats? Fair enough."
When your biggest postgame regret is that Andrew Cogliano
didn't get his fourth goal of the night, you know it's pretty fun being a Ducks fan right now.
Cogliano had a rather astonishing hat trick -- three straight goals in a span of 6:51 -- to lead the Ducks to an emphatic 4-1 victory over the Coyotes last night in Glendale. Cogliano's second period goals not only gave the Ducks a lead they never surrendered, but they marked his first career hat trick in 377 NHL games (all consecutive, by the way). It was also the second-fastest hat trick in Ducks history, behind the one Bobby Ryan
reeled off in 2:21 over two periods in LA in 2009 (surely you remember the third one
Cogliano got the first one after goalie Mike Smith got caught behind the net, and Matt Beleskey
(back from his hand injury) took the puck away from him and fed Cogliano for the easy tap-in. That was just the start of a rough night for Smith, who gave up the second straight to Cogliano halfway through the second on a wrist shot that snuck through on the short side. The third came a few minutes later, as Cogliano darted behind the Yotes defense and backhanded a shot through that Smith immediately agonized over.
Here's a look at all three:
Afterward, Bruce Boudreau joked, "It might have been the ugliest hat trick I've ever seen."
Cogliano, meanwhile, estimated that his last hat trick came at the Junior A level, while with something called the St. Michael’s Buzzers. ”I scored four goals in one game," he said. "Other than that nothing in college or the NHL.”
He came ever-so-close to getting a fourth last night too. Cogliano had a couple of chances for a fourth goal later in the game, none more apparent than when the Coyotes emptied their net for an extra attacker down 3-1 late. Teemu Selanne
strutted with the puck toward the abandoned net, and either didn't see Cogliano behind him or elected not to rub salt in the Phoenix wounds, dropping the puck in himself to seal the victory. (Faced with a similar situation back on January 10 vs. Dallas, Selanne was able to leave the puck to Saku Koivu
for the empty-netter that gave him
a hat trick.)
"'T' can do," Cogliano said, "whatever he wants."
Either way, it was a satisfying road win for the Ducks over a Phoenix team that is similarly trying to claw its way toward that coveted eighth spot in the West. Last night's win inched the Ducks to within 10 points of the Avs in eighth. Yes, there is still a long way to go, and wins have to come in bunches for Anaheim, like they did last month.
They've had little time to savor last night's victory though, as they jetted right back to Orange County, where they take on the Stars tonight at home.
Dallas represents one of the few bumps in the road of a 9-1-1 run for Anaheim over the last 11 games. Dallas edged the Ducks 1-0 on January 24 in the last game before the All-Star break, snapping a five-game Stars skid. That game and a crushing 1-0 overtime loss in Calgary earlier in the month is all that's kept the Ducks from a 11-game win streak. Just saying. (Again, another reason it's fun to be a Ducks fan right now -- when that's
something you can quibble over.)
Oddly enough, this is the first game for the Stars since that slim victory over Anaheim. The break has come at a good time for them, not only because they had been struggling before that win (seven goals in the last six games), but because they had some time to get guys healthy. No. 2 scorer Jamie Benn came back from an emergency appendectomy and played in the All-Star game. Pesky Mike Ribeiro played in that Ducks game for the first time since going down with an MCL injury on January 7. Captain Brenden Morrow, who missed that January 24 game with a neck/shoulder issue, was taken off IR during the break. Stephane Robidas looks to be close to 100 percent after recovering from a foot injury.
For the Ducks, Jason Blake
will be out for the second straight game with his foot injury, and Kyle Palmieri
was just recalled from Syracuse in case it's more serious.
Kari Lehtonen, who earned his first career shutout in that win over Anaheim before the break, will be in net tonight, according to coach Glen Gulutzan. Lehtonen did more than let one in during that Koivu hat trick game at Honda Center three weeks ago, a resounding 5-2 victory for the Ducks.
A reminder, tonight's puck drop will be at 7:35 p.m. Pacific, rather than the normal 7:05 p.m. time for Ducks weekday games.