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Frank Vatrano’s aggressive approach benefits Ducks in Colorado

They watched the Stars’ Jason Robertson score a hat trick against them in December in Dallas, and, more recently, the Bruins’ David Pastrnak completed the feat Jan. 8 at Honda Center, much to the delight of a large contingent of Boston fans on hand.

The first Ducks’ hat trick of the season – via Frank Vatrano – was the ideal punctuation to a six-game, 13-day trip, which started with a flight to Pittsburgh on Jan. 14 and ended with a 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night and arrival at LAX just after midnight Friday. They went 3-2-1 on the trip and happen to lead the NHL with four multi-goal, third-period comebacks this season.

Vatrano’s empty-netter from distance with 50 seconds remaining sealed the come-from-behind victory against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Avalanche. They were his ninth, 10th and 11th goals of the season. Quite simply, the man is historically and resolutely unafraid to shoot the puck, evidenced by his season-high eight shots on goal against the Avalanche.

Troy Terry and Vatrano are one-two among the Ducks in shots on goal with 141 and 140, respectively. Vatrano’s career shooting percentage is 10%.

While a shoot-first mentality might be Vatrano’s calling card, it was accompanied by a high level of persistence Thursday, particularly on his second goal, which came after multiple efforts at 18:37 of the second period to cut the Avalanche lead to 3-2.

For Vatrano, it was his third career hat trick and he’s had them with three teams. The first was his rookie season – in 2015-16 – with the Bruins against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

His second was a little more than three years ago with the Florida Panthers against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was on Jan. 21, 2020, and the model of efficiency as he scored three goals on three shots in the 4-3 win, which happened to be then-Florida coach Joel Quenneville’s first game back in Chicago.

One last bit of trivia: There have been 62 hat tricks recorded by the Ducks in franchise history. The first one was in Game 6 in their expansion season, by Terry Yake, against the New York Rangers on Oct. 19, 1993. Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne is the franchise leader with 13 hat tricks in 966 games with Anaheim.

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