With the sniper galloping to a league-leading 21 points, it’s likely that Phil Kessel trade remorse was at an all-time low in Toronto heading into Saturday’s game against Boston. The needle probably moved back a few notches in the negative direction after Tyler Seguin scored a hat trick as the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 7-0, though.
As Stanley Cup of Chowder points out, the hat trick takes on greater narrative meaning because Seguin grew up near Toronto and ostensibly could have been theirs if they didn’t make that oft-criticized deal.
In many peoples’ minds, the Bruins already won that deal the moment GM Peter Chiarelli realized he had the second pick in 2010 (while wearing a Maple Leafs-themed tie, no less).* It doesn’t matter much to them that Kessel still has seven more points on the season and his team remains nine points ahead in the standings.
The rest of us will wait for at least the next few years to play out before it is truly known who “won,” so nights like these are interesting battles in that figurative war.
* – Naturally, Kessel and Seguin weren’t the only players involved in that trade, but it’s more fun/cruel to boil it down to fates of those two players, isn’t it?
Matt Duchene reflects on first hat trick: ‘Most fun I’ve had’
“It’s too bad we lost,” Duchene said. “[But] it was hands down the most fun I’ve ever had playing a hockey game in my life.”
In the span of one game, Duchene slammed the door shut on those who worried about a mini-slump in which he was briefly demoted to the fourth line. Those four points were impressive enough – seriously, watch that third goal and let your jaw hit the floor – but he was an electric force all night.
In addition to the plays that showed up on the box score, he also earned Colorado a power play on what was just short of a penalty shot opportunity and had at least two other chances that could have been goals. The dynamic scorer used his world-class speed and creativity to carve up anyone the Stars sent his way.
Duchene came into Dallas with six points and finished with 10. Perhaps it was just a hot night or maybe playing left wing will continue to open up room for him to work his one-on-all magic, but if Duchene keeps having this much fun, opposing teams are going to be quite miserable.
Video: Stamkos’ hat trick leads Lightning over Hawks
The Lightning used a 2nd period hat trick from super-sniper Steven Stamkos to catapult Tampa Bay to a 5-4, come-from-behind, overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. It only took Stamkos 15 seconds for Stamkos to get the 2nd period started off on the right foot for the Lightning—it was only a taste of things to come as he was on his way towards his fourth career hat trick.
Sooner or later, teams are going to realize the 2008 #1 overall draft pick really likes that one-timer from the left wing circle. Here are all three goals for your viewing pleasure.
Kopitar scores three; preseason hat tricks count, right?
People will argue the importance of a preseason game. Some say it’s important to win, some think it’s important for prospect development, and others will say that it’s all about developing chemistry. No matter which side of the debate you find yourself arguing: it’s better to win 6-0 than it is to lose by the same score.
In his first game against the Avalanche since he broke his ankle last March, Anze Kopitar netted a preseason hat trick while leading the Kings’ six goal explosion. He scored a pair of goals against new Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov in the second period before capping his night (and the Kings scoring) halfway through the third period. The victory lifted the Kings preseason record to 2-1-2, while the loss dropped the Avs to 1-3-0 this preseason.
By all measures, the game was an abject disaster for the Avalanche. They couldn’t get a puck past Jonathan Quick in 27 shots and Varlamov looked shaky in giving up the six spot—and still looking for his first win in an Avs jersey. For a team that looks like it could struggle this season, Varlamov will be asked to steal his fair share of games if the Avalanche want to be competitive this season. Hopefully for fans in Colorado, he’s getting these performances out of his system before the regular season starts.
“No. I was probably thinking about it a little more in the last game at Staples (Center), because it happened there. That was the only one. No, definitely not. It was a non-factor. I’m past that, obviously. I’ve got to look forward. What happened, happened, and I’m all healed up now and that’s the most important thing.’’
Last season, Kopitar scored 25 goals and 73 points in 75 regular season games. He’ll be asked to produce at the same point-per-game pace if the Kings want to take the next step from playoff contender to Stanley Cup contender. Wednesday night showed that he’s having no issues with his hands as he continues to recover from last year’s gruesome injury.
The Avalanche will get a chance to redeem themselves in a rematch on Saturday night in Las Vegas. They might want to put a body on that Kopitar guy.
Some players can go a lifetime before netting a hat trick in the NHL. For a guy like Zdeno Chara goals haven’t really been a major part of his game. With a booming slap shot and an ability to make room for himself just by being 6’9″ with a reach that magnifies his size, you’d think that at some point during his 13-year career at some point he would’ve been fortunate enough to find the net three times in a game.
You’d be wrong in assuming that – that is until today.
During the Bruins 7-0 rout of Carolina, Chara was able to force Hurricanes starting goalie Cam Ward out of the game with a power play blast in the first period and made backup goalie Justin Peters’ life miserable by adding two more on the day to earn his first career hat trick. The three goals gives Chara ten on the season and his seventh season with double-digit goals. For a defenseman, scoring as often as that seems almost unfair. When you’re capable of ripping 100 mph slap shots and can block out the sun, it makes you seem other-worldly. Here’s video of Chara’s accomplishment today.