The chances of Joel Kiviranta of Vantaa, Finland having an impact on Friday afternoon at Rogers Place in Edmonton was as minimal as the odds of there actually being a Friday afternoon game seven in a Stanley Cup playoff game. However, Kiviranta made the most of his opportunity by delivering a hat trick in a 5-4 Dallas overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. Kiviranta’s third goal was a prolific shot from the slot in the extra period, which allowed the Stars to advance to the Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Kiviranta was put in the Dallas lineup when veteran Andrew Cogliano of Toronto, Ontario was considered unfit to play. Kiviranta played despite only having one regular season goal for one point in 11 regular season games, and one assist in two games during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But on Friday, it was Kiviranta who was the star of the contest in an elimination game with the Stars season on the line. He scored his three goals on five shots, and had four hits in 27 shifts, and 14 minutes, and 51 seconds of ice time. All three of Kiviranta’s goals were on even strength, and he was a +2 in the one-goal Dallas win.
Kiviranta’s first goal came at 3:06 of the second period from Denis Gurianov and John Klingberg, which tied the game at two goals apiece, He then tied the game at four goals apiece in dramatic fashion from Roope Hintz and Miro Heiskanen. Kiviranta’s game-tying goal came only 10 seconds after Colorado took a 4-3 lead, and came with only three minutes and 30 seconds left in the entire game. Then, Kiviranta scored the overtime winner from Andrej Sekera and Jamie Oleksiak at 7:24 of the extra period.
Kiviranta also becomes the first rookie in NHL history to get a hat trick in a game seven. Wayne Gretzky was the last player to record a hat trick in a gane seven. He accomplished the feat for the Los Angeles Kings in a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 29, 1993.