The Washington Capitals gave up a shocking six goals to the lowly Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, including a hat trick for Joel Armia.
As I watched the hats rain down in the Bell Centre, I felt a sense of deja vu and asked myself Is it just me, or has this happened a lot to the Capitals this season?
So I asked RMNB Crasher and stats nerd, Alexander O’Reilly, if he could tabulate the numbers and help me out.
And in short, the answer is: yes, yes it has.
Most Hat Tricks Given Up By Team
As of the morning of Friday, April 7.
* Seven NHL teams, including the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks, have not given up a hat trick this season.
Turns out, Armia’s hat trick was the sixth scored against the Capitals this season, tying them with Montreal for third-worst in the NHL. Only the lottery-hopeful Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets have seen more, with seven hat tricks against each.
So how, exactly, have the Capitals given up six hat tricks in 78 games? Let’s take a closer look, starting with the beginning of the season.
Jack Hughes (NJD) November 26
The first hat trick against came in a blowout loss in New Jersey, when Devils superstar Jack Hughes netted three in a row against Charlie Lindgren to earn the first hat trick of his career. I’ll cut the Capitals a bit of slack here: the Devils had just come off of their record 13-game win streak earlier that week, while the Capitals traveled to Jersey on the second half of a back-to-back.
Tage Thompson (BUF) January 3
Over a month would pass without a hat trick against for Washington. Tage Thompson would spoil the streak just after the new year. He potted two goals in regulation before scoring the OT winner with his 30th goal of the season.
After a bit of a slow start to his career, Thompson has had a career year, notching 45 goals and 92 points with 5 games left to go.
Travis Konecny (PHI) January 11
Just over a week after Thompson’s three-goal game, the Caps would see hats fly down at Wells Fargo Center. This time, Travis Konecny made himself known in front of the net. He tallied a goal in the first before earning a two-goal period in the third.
The final goal came in the last 15 seconds of the game on a last-minute breakaway. Konecny was the first all season to score a hat trick on the Capitals with an empty-net goal.
The worst part is that it came against the Flyers, who were never in the playoff chase (they currently sit 26th in the league). These are the types of games the Caps would really like to have back late in the season.
Dylan Cozens (NJD) February 26
They really did let Buffalo do it twice, didn’t they?
This time, Dylan Cozens decided it was his day to shine in a 7-4 bonanza of a game. It marked the first hat trick of Cozen’s career.
Cozens’ goals came on a nice shot from the slot in the first, capitalizing off a turnover in the second, and a quick backhand in the third.
Cozens holds the dubious honor of scoring on both Kuemper and Lindgren, the only hat-trick scorer to do so. At least they held Tage Thompson to only one goal in this game?
Matt Boldy (MIN) March 19
With Washington once again traveling for the second half of a back-to-back, Matt Boldy made it look easy in a 5-3 Wild win. His first goal came less than a minute into the first, and a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal and a breakaway polished off his second career hat trick. Former Cap Marcus Johansson even earned a pair of assists on Boldy’s goals.
Boldy has gone on a heater since playing Washington, scoring eight goals in eight games. He even scored another hat trick, this time against former Capitals goaltender Phillip Grubauer of the Seattle Kraken.
Joel Armia (MTL) April 6
Playing a largely-meaningless game for the second-worst team in the East, Joel Armia scored a shorthanded goal (the second one the Capitals gave up that game), sent a too-open slap shot past Kuemper, and managed the hat trick on an empty-netter with over three minutes left in the game.
Armia had four goals this season going into the game. It marked his second career hat trick; his first came over four years ago.
By and large, these aren’t hat tricks from the unstoppable forces of the NHL. Only Hughes and Boldy play for teams currently in a playoff spot. Washington saw two opponents earn their first NHL hat tricks, while three more earned the second of their careers. Two came on the second half of a back-to-back, but the remaining four came against a rested Capitals roster.
Four games remain in the regular season. With the possibility of big moves coming this the summer, let’s hope this is one issue the Caps manage to get under control for next year.
Players who scored hat tricks against WSH
Again, thank you to Alexander O’Reilly for helping to compile the data for this article.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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