The Washington Capitals’ 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday was quite the ornery affair. The crowd inside Capital One Arena was treated to two ten-minute misconducts, six fighting majors, four roughing penalties, and an ejection.
It was old-time hockey and Capitals winger Anthony Mantha recorded a fitting achievement amid the melee. The big forward recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick as he scored a goal, tallied an assist, and got into a fight.
Mantha accomplished the special hockey achievement two times with the Detroit Red Wings before his latest with the Caps on Friday. That means he now has more career Gordie Howe hat tricks than the man that the whole thing is named after. Although he played a record 2,421 professional hockey games, Howe himself only achieved two in his NHL career.
Mantha grabbed the first third of the scoresheet requirements halfway through the first period. He received a fantastic cross-ice pass from Lars Eller, went skate to stick with the puck, and potted it past a helpless Andrei Vasilevskiy for his fifth goal of the season.
It was just Mantha’s second goal in his last eleven games.
Early in the third period, Mantha set up Conor Sheary with a deft pass that let the diminutive winger streak into the Lightning defensive zone untouched on a breakaway. Sheary beat Vasilveskiy high over the glove to give Mantha his third assist on the year.
The assist marked Mantha’s second multi-point game in his last four outings and his 43rd career multi-point game.
Mantha finished off the hat trick with a fight against Corey Perry late in the game during a line brawl caused by a crosscheck to the back of John Carlson. Mantha’s jersey got stuck over his head early in the fight and he hung on for dear life after that.
It was Mantha’s second fight of the season and the twelfth of his NHL career.
Reminder: These two teams will rematch Sunday at Amalie Arena. 🍿
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) November 12, 2022
The last Caps player to record a Gordie Howe hat trick before this one was Tyler Lewington back on December 29, 2018 against the Ottawa Senators. In that game, Lewington became the only player to complete the hat trick with all three components being NHL career firsts.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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