It was an exciting night for a variety of reasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning this past Saturday.
The team avenged their 2018 Eastern Conference Finals elimination by downing the Washington Capitals, achieved a franchise-best 55 wins and 114 points for this season and took another big step towards securing what could now basically be considered their Presidents’ Trophy for the year. But it was an extra special night for one Bolts player in particular, as Alex Killorn netted his first NHL-career hat trick.
In a game with emotions running high and more than simply pride on the line, the Bolts’ third liner put on one heck of a performance, scoring in a different fashion on each goal.
On his first, Killorn played the puck along the left boards – after Anthony Cirelli made a good play to force a Washington turnover – and simply fired it towards the front of the net. While he appeared to be looking to Mathieu Joseph for the tip-in, he found Dmitry Orlov’s leg instead which deflected the puck past Braden Holtby to give the Bolts a 2-0 lead in the first.
Killorn’s second was undoubtedly his prettiest, as he drove down the ice facing only Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen. To put it bluntly, Killorn completely outmuscled him, shoving Jensen out of his way after weaving the puck between his stick. This left Killorn all alone with a point-blank shot on net that Holtby kicked out for a soft rebound, which Killorn corralled and buried.
The third came on an empty-netter, which can be harder to get sometimes than one may think. Fortunately on this night, the puck found Killorn’s blade just outside the top of the left circle in the Capitals’ zone and he fired it past a defending Alex Ovechkin.
It’s definitely not a bad night for a third line winger when he outscores Ovechkin with less shots on net and 11 fewer minutes of ice time.
While being his first ever hat trick, this was just Killorn’s seventh career multi-goal game, with four of those previous games occurring during the regular season and two in the playoffs. Killorn is not known for his ability to find the back of the net, but the Bolts will surely take this type of performance anytime he wants to commence the raining of hats from the stands.
Here’s to “Killer” hopefully netting another three in the highly anticipated rematch with the Caps later this week.