Alex Ovechkin matched a career high with four goals – including three in the first period – to post his second straight hat trick (19th career) and lead the Capitals to victory. With hat tricks in each of the Capitals’ first two games of the 2017-18 season, Ovechkin became the fourth player in League history – and first since the NHL’s inaugural campaign – to score a hat trick in each of his team’s first two games of a season.
Elias adds that Ovechkin – who netted three goals in the third period of Washington’s season opener – became the third player in NHL history to score three goals in a period in consecutive team games. The others: Buffalo’s Richard Martinfrom Oct. 19-22, 1975, and Toronto’s Darryl Sittler from March 2-5, 1980.
There have been four hat tricks through two days of play in 2017-18, with Connor McDavid (EDM), Wayne Simmonds (PHI), Saad and Ovechkin each scoring three times in his team’s season opener. This is the second campaign in NHL history to feature four hat tricks in season-opening contests. The first such occurrence came in 1917-18, when each of the first two games in League history featured two players with at least three goals (both on Dec. 19, 1917: Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senatorsand Toronto Arenas at Montreal Wanderers).
Ovechkin’s four-goal outburst included his 562nd, 563rd, 564th and 565th career markers to pass Mike Modano (561), Joe Nieuwendyk (564) and Mats Sundin (564) for sole possession of 22nd on the NHL’s all-time list. The performance also included his 213th career power-play goal to pass Keith Tkachuk (212) for sole possession of 13th place in NHL history.