EDMONTON – It took 34 years for the Edmonton Oilers to see two players record hat tricks in the same game again.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl each had three goals and Draisaitl added an assist as Edmonton powered its way to an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday — the first time since 1985 that two Oilers had hat tricks in the same game, that one also against Los Angeles with Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri achieving the feat.
“I’m happy for both of them,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who added a goal and three assists. “I’m not sure if I have seen two teammates get hat tricks in the same game, other than maybe in minor hockey. That was pretty cool.”
Zack Kassian also scored for the Oilers (34-34-8), who have won two of their last three to move within five points of a wild-card playoff position.
All of Nugent-Hopkins’ goals came in the first period.
“I don’t think I have done something like that since minor hockey,” he said. “It is something new to me, but definitely a good way to start the game. It is a lot nicer when you get the win, too.”
Alex Iafallo, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown and Carl Grundstrom replied for the Kings (28-40-8), who saw a three-game winning streak ended.
“There is not much I can say about that one,” said Kings forward Anze Kopitar. “Coming out in the second and getting the goals was obviously positive, but we can’t expect to win many games when you’re down 5-1.
Los Angeles started the scoring just over two minutes into the opening period as Iafallo stepped into a shot from the high slot that hit a stick and beat Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen to the glove side for his 15th goal of the season.
Nugent-Hopkins responded just over a minute later, deflecting a pass from Alex Chiasson past Kings starter Jonathan Quick.
The goals kept coming as Draisaitl bobbed and weaved his way through the defence before scoring.
The Oilers made it 3-1 midway through the first when Kassian picked the top corner for his 15th of the season.
Nugent-Hopkins scored his 27th of the season on a long, high shot, giving Edmonton a three-goal lead with six minutes to play.
Nugent-Hopkins completed his hat trick before the first period was over, scoring with 12 seconds remaining in the frame on the power play. McDavid picked up an assist for his career high 109th point of the season.
Jack Campbell replaced Quick to start the second period.
The Kings got one back eight minutes into the second when Doughty scored on a two-man advantage.
McDavid made a slick move in tight to score his 39th to make it 6-2 for Edmonton about 12 minutes into the second period.
The Oilers kept it up with another goal a couple of minutes later with McDavid setting up Draisaitl on the doorstep for his second of the game.
Brown got the Kings’ second power play of the game with three minutes left in the second before Grundstrom struck on a four-on-four with 44 seconds left.
Draisaitl got his first-ever regular season hat trick goal with 1:31 to go in the third period, giving him 99 points on the season and 46 goals, although he is hesitant to state that he is desperate to hit 50 for the campaign.
“I try not to think about it,” he said. “I don’t want to put that pressure on myself, to be honest. I am happy with the year I have been having and I don’t want to take that mark as a reason to downplay my season.”
Both teams return to action on Thursday as the Kings head to Vancouver to face the Canucks and the Oilers play host to the Dallas Stars.
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