Fifteen years ago today, Alex Ovechkin gave us another glimpse of just how great of a hockey player he would turn out to be.
During a January 13, 2006, game against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Ovechkin scored his first career hat trick, which included the overtime game-winning goal.
The goals gave Ovechkin 30 goals in the first 43 games of his rookie season. It also gave him 12 goals in his last 12 games.
Ovechkin’s first tally of the game came 1:45 into the second period after he put the puck through a Ducks defenseman’s legs to start a two-on-one. Chris Clark passed the biscuit back to Ovechkin, who raced in alone on Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere and scored on his backhand.
The Russian machine scored again 10 minutes and 21 seconds later. After a ferocious forecheck, Ovechkin got the puck, faked a shot, dangled past Ruslan Salei, put the puck on his backhand, and then spun around and shot. Ovi’s prayer beat Giguere low to the ice and he fell over while celebrating.
Ovi’s hat trick goal came in overtime. He carried the puck down the left wing and fired the puck through a Ducks player’s skates, beating Giguere.
Here’s the scoring summary courtesy of Hockey Reference. Danius Zubrus had two assists.
“That was the best performance I’ve ever seen, including guys I’ve played with and played against, by far,” Capitals forward Jeff Friesen told The Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir then. “It’s great for the team, it’s great for the league.”
Meanwhile, an ecstatic Ovi after the game showered praise on someone else.
“I’m very happy,” Ovechkin said. “Today we play hard. Our goaltender was great today. He was our star tonight. Thanks, Johnny.”
Johnson stopped 32 of 34 shots to help the rebuilding Capitals improve to 14-24-5.
Alex Ovechkin's 1st career hat trick came 15 years ago today. Look at this freakin guy. Only has 27 of them since pic.twitter.com/HP2CfXxIuZ
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) January 13, 2021
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