Evgeny Kuznetsov of Chelyabinsk, Russia collected his second career National Hockey League hat trick on Friday. Kuznetsov scored thrice as the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in overtime at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Kuznetsov opened the scoring at 5:34 of the first period from defenseman Nick Jensen of Rogers, Minnesota, and T.J, Oshie of Everett, Washington. He then scored only 43 seconds later as at 6:17 of the first period. Kuznetsov put the Capitals up 2-0 on a power-play goal from Alexander Ovechkin of Moscow, Russia, and defenseman John Carlson of Natick, Massachusetts. Then at 15:07 of the third period, Kuznetsov tied the game at three with an unassisted power-play goal.
So far in 2021-22, Kuznetsov is averaging exactly one point per game. In 57 games, he has 57 points. Kuznetsov also has 19 goals and 38 assists. He is a +10 with 26 penalty minutes, 19 power-play points, four shorthanded points, four game-winning goals, 149 shots on goal, 20 blocked shots, 29 hits, 34 takeaways, and 29 giveaways.
Kuznetsov’s only prior hat trick came against a Canadian team. On October 23, 2015, he scored thrice in a 7-4 Capitals win over the Edmonton Oilers. It should be noted that Kuznetsov is unable to participate for his home country of Russia at the moment. In 2019, he was suspended four years after testing positive for cocaine.
It has been a memorable week for European players on the Capitals. On Tuesday, Ovechkin scored his 766th career NHL goal, which tied Jaromir Jagr of Kladno, Czech Republic for third on the all-time goal scoring list in a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames. The only players who have had more goals than Jagr and Ovechkin are Wayne Gretzky of Brantford, Ontario, who scored 894 goals, and the late Gordie Howe, who had 801 goals.
Then on Wednesday, Nicklas Backstrom became the 93rd player in NHL history to record 1000 points. Backstrom accomplished the feat with an assist on a goal by Oshie at 6:13 of the third period in a 4-3 Capitals loss to the Edmonton Oilers. In Backstrom’s career, he has had 263 goals and 737 assists.