Alex Ovechkin just scored a hat trick on RMNB’s ninth birthday.
After scoring in both the first and second periods, Ovi lit the lamp again in the third, sending a seeing-eye one-timer past Jimmy Howard.
The goal was Ovi’s third of the game, his 21st career hat trick.
The hats came flying down.
Ovechkin scored off a faceoff. John Carlson took in a Nicklas Backstrom pass and slid the puck over to Ovi parked along the boards. Ovi fired his shot short side. Jimmy Howard got a piece of it.
But it juuuuuust trickled in.
Ovi raised his arms high into the air to celebrate.
The goal marked Ovechkin’s 21st career regular season hat trick — the most in franchise history — and his 22nd overall including the postseason. Ovechkin is now tied for 12th all-time in NHL hat tricks.
Capitals fans threw their hats down to the ice, delaying the game for several minutes.
Ovi even helped the clean-up process!
After the game, Ovechkin spoke to the press and was asked if scoring hat tricks was even still a special thing to him.
“Yeah of course,” Ovechkin said. “You don’t score hat tricks every day.”
Ovechkin admitted that he believes he’s playing the best hockey of his career.
“Yeah. After last year, we just enjoy it,” Ovechkin said. “Of course you don’t want to too much enjoy, but we try to do the same over and over again. It’s fun. Our team have fun right now. It starts with our goaltending and the rest of the guys. We play solidly and we play calm. This help us.”
Nicklas Backstrom, who had four assists on the night, just had this to say.
Nicklas Backstrom on what's going right for Alex Ovechkin: "I think everything." pic.twitter.com/cAjLqoRT69
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) December 12, 2018
“He’s having a great start to the year and in particular, it’s been his five-on-five play,” head coach Todd Reirden said after the game. “Converting on his chances and taking advantage of some fortunate breaks that went his way tonight. He’s earning it. He’s doing things the right way. He’s been a great leader for us so far this year. Can’t say enough about the year he’s having.
“At the age he’s at, to still continue to not only want to get better, but be able to after the way he’s played the game with such a physical presence and the energy he has and the size he is, it’s not easy,” Reirden continued. “He’s been great in our room. Leadership has really stepped up for me – the best I’ve seen him lead in the room during the regular season. Just being able – his overall play is following right along with it. I know some other years statistically have been better, but for me it’s his best two-way hockey he’s play and that’s signified by times I’ve used him at the end of the game when we’re protecting leads. A lot of credit to what he’s done.”
Ovechkin leads the league now with 25 goals. He’s on pace to score over 60 goals in his age 33 season. That’s nuts.
Ovechkin has 13 goals and six assists in his last 12 games.
— Byron J. Hudtloff (@ByronHudtloff) December 12, 2018
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