Noel Acciari recorded his third career National Hockey League hat trick on Saturday. The native of Johnston, RI scored three goals on five shots in a commanding 6-2 Panthers win over the Nashville Predators from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.
Acciari’s first goal of the game was the game-winning goal at 11:17 of the second period from Aaron Ekblad of Windsor, Ontario, and Frank Vatrano of East Longmeadow, MA. At the time Acciari’s goal put the Panthers up 3-1.
Acciari then put the Panthers up 4-1 with a goal from Keith Yandle of Boston, MA with 1:14 left in the second period. Acciari’s hat trick came from Jonathan Huberdeau of Saint-Jerome, Quebec, at 16:58 of the third period on the power play.
Acciari was one of five Panthers players with a multi-point game. Ekblad, Huberdeau, and Vatrano each had one goal and one assist for two points, while Yandle had two assists.
What made Acciari’s hat trick a little surprising on Saturday was that he not only had his first three goals of the season, but his first three points of the season. Acciari actually was held off the scoresheet for the first 14 games he played this season. He recorded the second surprising hat trick against the Predators in the last 10 days. On February 25, Sam Gagner of the Detroit Red Wings got a hat trick, despite only scoring four goals this season in 18 games.
Also in 2020-21, Acciari is a +1 with two penalty minutes, one power-play goal, one game-winning goal, 21 shots on goal, 73 faceoff wins, 20 blocked shots, 39 hits, six takeaways, and three giveaways. His two previous hat tricks came in 2019-20. Acciari scored thrice in a 6-1 Panthers win over the Ottawa Senators on December 16, 2019, and then three goals again in a 7-4 Panthers win over the Dallas Stars on December 2, 2019.
With the win, the Panthers have 34 points, and are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Central Division. They are one point up on the third place Carolina Hurricanes.