Nicklas Backstrom is usually a setup man, but six years ago to the day, he was the finisher.
During the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 13, 2014. Backstrom scored his first career regular-season hat trick, tallying twice in the second period and once in the third. Because the even-strength goals were scored consecutively, it was considered a natural hat trick – the first time a Capitals player had done so since Alex Semin in 2010.
All three Backstrom goals came in a gritty yet skilled fashion in front of the net.
Backy’s first lamplighter came on a gorgeous backhand in the slot past Ben Bishop. His second came on a rush after an Alex Ovechkin rebound barely went wide. Backstrom gathered in the puck from just beyond the post and tucked it home. Finally, Backstrom hit the back of the twine on another rush up ice to net the hatty.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 13, 2020
After the game, an unknown person took all the hats that were thrown onto the ice by Capitals fans and stuffed them into Backstrom’s locker.
“I don’t know who the f—k was doing that,” Backstrom told RMNB’s Chris Gordon. “Someone surprised me.”
It ended up resulting in a memorable photo op.
THIS DATE IN 2014: Nicklas Backstrom gets his 1st regular-season NHL hat trick. @Capitals teammate @ovi8 assists on 2 goals, returning a favor as @backstrom19 had 2+ assists on 6 of 13 Ovechkin regular-season hat tricks to that point. #NHLStats
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 13, 2020
“Everyone was kinda giving him grief when he walked in,” Nate Schmidt said. “You know, first star, hat trick — you gotta give a guy a little bit of trouble.
“He deserves it,” Schmidt added. “The whole stall was filled it them. It was great!”
When asked by the media if he sensed a big game was coming that day, Backstrom replied, “No, actually I woke up a little grumpy from my nap.”
The hat trick was the second of Backstrom’s career at the time. He also tallied a hatty during Game Two of the Capitals’ first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Headline photo: Chris Gordon/RMNB
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