NHL 3 Stars: Golden Knights' Dylan Coghlan scores first 3 NHL goals in loss
Wednesday night wasn't filled with games. With just five on tap, it was quite the opposite. But there wasn't a dull moment in sight.
Leon Draisaitl did what Draisaitl does; that is, score a boatload of points. Dylan Coghlan scored his first NHL goal, and then his second, and then his third. Arizona and Colorado went the distance, despite Colorado dominating shot share. Even Anaheim and Los Angeles had a thrilling game. Troy Grosenick won his first NHL start since 2014!
Here are the best performances of the night.
Leon Draisaitl's five-point night
There are a ton of different angles to take Leon Draisaitl's five-point game. There's relatively crazy production he's posting with 11 multi-point games this season. There's the several highlight reel plays just in this game along. There's also the hilarity of score effects, amongst others. But let's talk about one play, the end-to-end goal.
Draisaitl starts the sequence along the boards, before crossing over towards the middle. Ottawa's backed up with three on the blue-line – this is easy stuff for a player like Draisaitl. Mike Reilly, a historically poor defensive skater, is defending the middle. Reilly crosses over to the outside as Draisaitl starts moving towards the middle. That means that Reilly has a huge lateral distance to cover when Draisaitl comes charging at him up the middle.
From that position, Reilly's at a huge disadvantage: he's committing his weight to the left, and Draisaitl's free to work around him straight up the middle. Here's some crazy skill: Draisaitl hits the puck off Reilly's skate, but promptly knocks it back down. Reilly somewhat recovers, chopping Draisaitl's stick, but Draisaitl pushes the puck forward and fends him off.
Oh, and the shot's pretty wild, too. Just at look at how he's body's moving away from the net, but he slides his bottom hand up stick to reach across for the finish.
Dylan Coghlan's hat trick
Not even two minutes into his 12th NHL game, Dylan Coghlan scored his first NHL goal. Then, he scored his second. And his third. Ultimately, the Golden Knights fell short of the Wild by a goal, but that shouldn't discredit Coghlan's performance.
Coghlan's first and third goals were vintage Coghlan; goals he's scored in the AHL and WHL. First, he doesn't glue himself to the point. To open the scoring, he stepped into space at the top of the slot, then accelerated once the puck popped free and hammered it off the post and in. To get Vegas within one, he faked the shot to draw in the defender, then passed. After passing, he pushed back towards the blue-line, creating separation between the defender and himself, creating the space for the one-time blast.
The second goal showed the growth of Coghlan's game in these past few seasons. In 4-on-4, he worked the puck to the weak side, then activated into the rush. Alec Martinez hit Coghlan with the tricky cross-slot feed, which promptly rolled off the toe of Coghlan's blade but still found its way in.
For years, Coghlan's game was a shot – and what a shot it is. Now, there's a lot more diversity to his game – perhaps he'll be a long-term NHL after all.
Joel Eriksson Ek's two-goal performance
Just like we all expected, Joel Eriksson Ek's tied for fifth in the NHL in even-strength goals with 10. Wait, what?
Both of his goals boiled down to get open, fire away. The second goal came after following up his shot and poking in the loose puck. The hard work of Marcus Foligno and Jordan Greenway directly set-up of his goals, too.
Statistically, it was more of the same from Eriksson Ek. He finished third on Minnesota in 5-on-5 shot share – the same position as his team-wide ranking this season. According to Natural Stat Trick, he leads Minnesota in xGF% by a comfortable margin. Even in the goals dry up, he's not short on contributions to the game.