Earlier this week, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman made the bold statement that “nobody tanks” in the NHL. On Thursday night, Nick Schmaltz of the Arizona Coyotes and Frank Vatrano of the Anaheim Ducks strengthened Bettman’s argument by registering hat tricks in guiding their respective teams to upsets.
On Thursday, the Coyotes blanked the St. Louis Blues 5-0 thanks to the first NHL career hat trick for Nick Schmaltz of Madison, Wisconsin. Schmaltz scored the first three goals of the game. He opened the scoring at 10:55 of the second period with the game-winning goal from Lawson Crouse of Mount Brydges, Ontario and Troy Stecher of Richmond, British Columbia. Schmaltz then put the Coyotes up 2-0 at 13:56 of the second period, and then registered his hat trick at the 13 second mark of the third period. Schmaltz’s last two goals were unassisted markers. Schmaltz also added a power play assist on a goal by Barrett Hayton of Peterborough, Ontario to close out the scoring. It was also a strong performance by Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka, who made 33 saves for his third shutout of the season.
Vatrano of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, meanwhile notched his third career hat trick and first with the Ducks in a 5-3 Anaheim win over Colorado. He scored a goal in each period with his goals at 9:46 of the first period (to put the Ducks up 2-0) and 19:10 of the third period to close out the scoring, coming from Cam Fowler. Like Schmaltz, Vatrano scored an unassisted marker, which came at 18:37 of the second period. Vatrano’s other career hat tricks were with the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.
The Coyotes are now at 37 points, and are 12 points back of the Blues, who are now losers of three straight. The Ducks are now at 35 points and are 20 points back of the Avalanche.