Two veterans recorded their first career hat tricks, helping their teams to victories in the process.
The hats were flying last night and it was as a result of two unlikely marksmen.
New York Rangers right winger Mats Zuccarello and Montreal Canadiens right winger Dale Weise recorded their first career hat tricks in separate victories.
The Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on the strength of three Zuccarello goals, the final one into an empty net. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault reunited Zuccarello with linemates Rick Nash and Derick Brassard for the first time in five games and the move paid off handsomely. The trio combined for nine points as Nash and Brassard each had three assists. As a result, it marked the first time since March 30, 1975 that a Ranger scored at least three goals that were assisted by the same two players, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Steve Vickers scored four with help from Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert.
Zuccarello’s hat trick was also the second in the NHL by a Norwegian player, according to Sportsnet. Espen Knutsen of the Columbus Blue Jackets was the first do in 2002. Zuccarello now has seven goals this season and 52 in 233 career regular season games. With the win, the Rangers improved their record to 7-2-2 and sit atop the Metropolitan Division, two points clear of the Washington Capitals. Weise’s goals helped the Canadiens paste the Calgary Flames 6-2 and improve their NHL-best record to 10-2-0. Weise opened the scoring in the first period and closed out the scoring in the third, both times receiving assists from linemates Tomas Fleischmann and David Desharnais. He netted his other goal in the second period when he beat Flames goalie Joni Ortio after he forced a turnover in the Calgary zone. The goals gave Weise six on the season and 29 in 270 career games. Zuccarello and Weise became the eighth and ninth players to record hat tricks this season. They joined Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington), Jason Spezza (Dallas), Zach Parise (Minnesota), Joel Ward (San Jose), Mikkel Boedker (Arizona), Anthony Duclair (Arizona) and Justin Abdelkader (Detroit).