Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov played the best game of his young career against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Kuzy tallied three goals–his first NHL hat trick–and two assists in the Caps’ 7-4 win. The five points were a career high (in the NHL).
The young Russian’s trio of goals covered all the bases. There was a beautiful tic-tac-toe with linemates TJ Oshie and Alexander Ovechkin, a breakaway off a perfect feed from John Carlson (and a pretty bad play at center ice by Oilers defenseman J. Schultz (no, not that one), and a power-play snipe to close out the third period.
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom made it rain hats tonight. Nicky scored the first regular-season hat trick of his career and the Caps’ first natural hat trick since Alex Semin did it in 2010. Backstrom’s only other hatty came against the Habs in the 2010 playoffs (OMG DONT REMIND ME).
A few years ago, Polish-born forward Wojtek Wolski came to the Washington Capitals as a reclamation project. Instead of becoming a permanent member in the team’s top six, he became a permanent denizen of Adam Oates’s doghouse and left for the KHL. Since then, he has had some success with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.
And by success I mean setting insane records. Today Wolski set the KHL record for the fastest hat trick ever. He did it pretty fast.
Photo credit: Geoff Burke
Mike Green was terrible tonight, but luckily for the Washington Capitals, captain Alex Ovechkin, was not. Ovi recorded the 13th hat trick of his career to lead his team to an improbable comeback in the second period. He then added a fourth goal in third period to force overtime. Ovi, the league leader in goals, now has 26 goals on the season. He is six ahead of second-place Corey Perry and Alex Steen. He has 49 goals in his last 52 games. He is amazing.
Also, Ovi’s two power-play goals in the second stanza put him at 138 in his career, making him the Capitals franchise leader, leap-frogging one of my favorite players as a kid, Peter Bondra.
And now, why the hats flew.
Photo: Glenn Gervais
Washington Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky has been on a roll lately. With an eight-game point-scoring streak, the 18-year-old Swede is now tied for ninth in the OHL in goals (15) and tied for 18th in points (25).
In Sunday night’s 7-1 thumping of the Sarnia Sting, the crafty winger scored three goals for his first career hat trick in the OHL. With one more goal in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Oshawa Generals, that’s a four-goal weekend. Burakovsky also scored the game-winner in both games, giving him a league-leading five GWGs on the year. That’s remarkable.
Maria with her Slapshot stuffed animal. Dad gives thumbs up. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)
Attending Saturday’s Washington Capitals game, Alex Ovechkin’s fiancée Maria Kirilenko got a special treat. Ovi scored a hatty for the first time in over two years.
While CSN Washington didn’t pan to Kirilenko sitting in the lower bowl, the Devils broadcast on MSG drank from the Ovi-Kirilenko well a lot. They zoomed in on her celebrating with Ovi’s father Mikhail (giving the thumbs up) after Ovechkin’s third goal. MSG’s Deb Placey interviewed Kirilenko during the second period, after Ovi scored his first goal of the night.
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