Easy as 1, 2, 3: the hat tricks up this season

DENVER (Parlay Game) – True to the hockey tradition, a hat to honor Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine .

They have each registered a hat trick tour this season.

Easy as one, two, three. Or it may seem.

According to research by the NHL Statistics and Information Department, there have been 61 hat tricks in the first 770 games of the season – the highest number since 1995-96 (62). Ovechkin of Washington and Laine of Winnipeg lead with three each.

Hold on, that's more: there was at least one scorer with three goals in 10 of the 13 days leading in the All-Star break.

"I think the reason," succinctly summarized striker Mikko Rantanen, "is because the scores around the league are up."

Simple, yes. But on the target, too.

To date, there have been 132 cases where a team scored six or more goals in a game, the highest number since 2005-06. The teams score an average of 3.03 goals per game, which is the best score since the season 3.14, you guessed it, 1995-1996. There was an 18% increase in the number of points scored since the team's record of 2.57 goals per game in 2003-04, before a lockout led to a rule change.

Naturally, hat tricks go hand in hand with climbing.

"It's exciting and it's not something that everyone has done," said Nashville striker. Austin Watson , who had his first hat trick in the NHL on Nov. 25 against Anaheim. "It's a great success."

Long associated with cricket and football, the hat trick seems to have made its way into the vernacular language of traditional hockey when a Toronto businessman offered a hat to any player who scored three goals during the tournament. 39, an NHL game while traveling to his hometown. As the legend says, Chicago ahead Alex Kaleta entered the store in 1946 and found a fedora he loved, according to a History of NHL.com . Only he did not have the funds to buy it. The owner of the company offered to give it to Kaleta for free if he scored three goals against the Maple Leafs.

Kaleta was four. Presto, a hat trick.

Nowadays, hat tricks come in different forms. This is the natural goal (three consecutive goals per player), the traditional goal (three goals, sometimes culminating with an empty net) and of course the "Gordie Howe" (goal, help and fight).

The attraction of a hat trick has long been celebrated by fans who throw their hats on the ice. Have you ever wondered where all these hats go? The Avs, for their part, donate caps to the Denver rescue mission.

The NHL's fastest treble took just 21 seconds to Bill Mosienko (1952) of Chicago. The most in a career? Wayne Gretzky, who was 50. Ovechkin has the highest number of active players with 23.

They are far from common – 61 in total this year represent only 8% of all games. The Grand needed 1,487 games to get his 50s.

All increased scores mean that the exploit may someday lose some of its luster. But not yet.

"It's a pretty tough thing to do," said Minnesota striker Jason Zucker, who had a hat trick on November 9, 2017. "Scoring a goal in this league is a tough thing. to do.Taking three in a game is pretty amazing. "

Ovechkin had two days in a four-day window this season, while Laine had a pair over a six-day period, including a five goal game November 24th.

Captain of the avalanche team Gabriel Landeskog offered his first hat trick November 11, 2017 against Washington. He has the puck in a briefcase with the match sheet and a picture. He said he did not have his puck from the second, which happened a month later.

"I do not think the guys will try to score goals," said star player Landeskog. "The guys go out there to help the team win."

To explain why there are so many hat tricks this season, Zucker has a simple deduction.

"It's speed. It's the skill. It's the sticks, the way the guys pull the pucks now, "said Zucker. "Guys do not even have to try throwing pucks – sticks do a lot of work for us."

No need to convince the Minnesota goalkeeper Devan Dubnyk of that.

"The teams are finding ways to create opportunities and understand how the pucks actually go in the net and not just think that if you throw 50 pucks at the net, you'll score several goals," Dubnyk said. "It's understanding how to create an offense. You can see it throughout the league this year. There is a lot of offensive creativity and that makes things difficult for the defenses and the goalies. "

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Jake Shapiro, Parlay Game freelance writer, contributed to this report.

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