If a hat trick is netted but no hat is thrown, does it still count?
If you asked Andrei Svechnikov, he would definitely say yes.
The young Russian star’s first hat-trick came at the perfect time, pushing his hurricanes to a 4-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five qualifying round series against the Rangers.
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Svechnikov opened the score less than five minutes into the game when he fired the shot past veteran net keeper Henrik Lundqvist from the left circle. In the second, he sent a one-timer to the back of the net on power play and ended the hat-trick in the third on a nifty backhanded pass from fellow younger Sebastian Aho.
Unfortunately, no caps were thrown – despite it being a Carolina “home” game – to celebrate his achievement, as no fans were present.
With his trio of goals in Monday’s matinee, the 20-year-old became the first to do so in the history of the Carolina franchise. He also joined a list from just eight players – including Wayne Gretzky and Patrick Kane – to score a playoff hat trick before age 21. He also joined nine other players in having multiple two-plus-goal games in the postseason before his 21st birthday.
The second overall pick in the 2018 draft, Svechnikov, collected 61 points in 68 games before the season was interrupted. And although it seems 100 years ago, he had two of the best goals of the season when he scored not one but two lacrosse-like goals.