Zach Three Times
Photo credit:Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
11 months ago
The way Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid put up points against the Nashville Predators for fun, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that Zach Hyman recorded the first hat-trick of his 450-game NHL career playing on a line with them in a 6-3 win for the Edmonton Oilers in Music City Tuesday.
Hyman, who has always made his mark with a game that’s equal parts talent and tenacity, got to a puck before Nashville’s Roman Josi and chopped it into an empty net in the final three minutes to complete the hat-trick. That put the finishing touches on a four-point game for Hyman after nine games without a goal – he has an eight-game points streak (4-10-14).
This came on a night when Draisaitl, dubbed the Mayor of Music City, scored 2-3-5 to give him 30 points in his last 11 games versus the Predators and McDavid had 1-3-4 to give him 24 points in his last 10 games against Nashville. With the win, the Oilers jumped a jet for home for dates with St. Louis and Anaheim at 17-13-0.
Hyman, meanwhile, is rolling along with 13-20-33 and is well ahead of the pace that saw him record career highs in goals, assists, and points with 27-27-54 in his first season with the Oilers upon coming over from Toronto. Hyman’s production – and that of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — has been very timely with Evander Kane missing from the the line-up since Nov. 8 with a lacerated left wrist.
WHAT THEY SAY
Dec 13, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates his goal with defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) and left wing Zach Hyman (18) against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
“I think I had a bunch of chances to get it in the game,” said Hyman when asked about finally getting the hat-trick after scoring two goals in a game 14 times in his career. “It was nice to get the empty net there and get the first one. I have had a bunch of multi-goal games, so it’s really nice to get that first hat trick. . . it took 450 games, right, so it took a while.”
What I like about Hyman, aside from the fact he just comes off as a really good person and he’s obviously a sharp guy as the author of children’s books and the owner of an e-sports company, is he’s relentless out on the ice. Hyman augments his skill with hustle. We saw his skill on the 1-1 goal and saw the hustle on the 2-1 goal and when he tracked down Josi and the puck and hit the empty net.
“I see someone who brings a positive attitude first of all,” coach Jay Woodcroft said of what he sees in Hyman. “He’s passionate. He exudes passion for the game. He has an insatiable appetite to get better, so he’s buoyed by the challenge of playing with two great players like Connor and Leon.
“I think what he brings to that line is a measure of physicality. I think he has a little bit of grease around the net front with two painters, and I think they complement each other. So, it’s gone well for them.”
From Draisaitl, who set up Hyman’s empty-netter: “He’s such a big part of our team, does so many little things well. It’s always great to see guys like that get rewarded for their work.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
Teams that win anything have players like Hyman who have the ability to support and play alongside guys at the very top of the marquee like McDavid and Draisaitl.
Nobody can guarantee results, but a coach who plugs a player like Hyman in here or there knows he’ll get everything that player has got. No excuses. No regrets. Combine that with the level of skill Hyman brings, and you’ve got something.
Recent articles from Robin Brownlee