Alex Ovechkin has etched his name into the record book, becoming the first player since the NHL’s inaugural season to open a season with consecutive hat tricks.
Ovechkin scored his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the season in the first period of the Washington Capitals‘ home-opening 6-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. He scored his first three goals in the Capitals’ season opener on Thursday night, a 5-4 shootout win in Ottawa.
Back-to-back hat tricks to start a season have not been seen since the 1917-18 season, in which Cy Denneny, Joe Malone and Reg Noble each accomplished the feat.
Fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on each of Ovechkin’s first three goals Saturday night, as Washington took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission. Ovechkin added a fourth goal, also assisted by Kuznetsov, in the second period.
“It’s a fun time when you play like that and your line’s feeling it,” Ovechkin said. “When your line’s feeling it, you just want to be out there more and more. Sometimes you play well but you don’t score. Right now, it’s we play well, we score goals, we’re dangerous. All three forwards are dangerous, and we just have to continue to play like that.”
The Caps’ captain, who made his NHL debut in 2005-06, now has 114 career multigoal games, tying him with the retired Teemu Selanne for the most since the 1993-94 season.
This is the first time Ovechkin has ever tallied back-to-back hat tricks. The last Capitals player to do so was Peter Bondra on Feb. 3 and 5 in 1999.
Washington’s next game is on the road Monday night vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning, against whom Ovechkin has 41 career goals.
According to Ovechkin, his chances of putting together another hat trick for that game are slim, since he’ll be without his good-luck charm: his sister-in-law.
“Every time she’s in town, like I score a hat trick,” Ovechkin said. “Back-to-back and she’s leaving Monday. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to talk to someone to keep her here.”