For some reason, hockey fans like to litter the ice with their hats.
This may be the reason why hat tricks are such a popular achievement in the sport. Or it might just be that scoring three goals in a game is difficult, and fans like to show appreciation for such an impressive performance.
Either way, Arizona Coyotes fans were able to honor Mikkel Boedker with their hats on Wednesday night, when Arizona’s right wing scored three goals in a 7-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Boedker recorded the first Coyotes’ hat trick since January of last season and his incredible game became a part of the 38 hat tricks that have been recorded since the Coyotes made their home in the desert in 1996.
With almost two decades of hat tricks in Arizona, lets take a look at the Coyotes’ history of accomplishing the feat, by the numbers:
Scoring three goals in a game is difficult enough, but racking up four goals in a game is a monstrously difficult feat. That is where Keith Tkachuk set himself apart in the desert with a four-goal performance on March 20, 1997, the only such achievement in Coyotes history.
Tkachuk sits alone with his four-goal game in a Coyotes uniform, but he also rules with the number of times he recorded a hat trick. Tkachuk accomplished the feat seven times with the Coyotes, all of which took place from 1996 to 2000.
There is something to be said for efficiency when scoring three goals in a game. And then there is something to be said for taking 10 shots to get those three goals. To earn one his many hat tricks, Tkachuk made 30 percent of his shots to net the goals on April 3, 1998, in a 6-3 Coyotes win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
It might be easy to assume that Coyotes’ players rack up the most hat tricks against an oft-played division rival, but the Nashville Predators has been the favorite target for big games by Arizona’s players. The Coyotes have recorded five hat tricks against the Predators, one more than the team recorded against divisional opponent Los Angeles Kings.
There have been multiple lockouts, and many more seasons without making the playoffs, but the Coyotes have still been able to record a hat trick in most seasons in Arizona. Still, the Coyotes went an entire calendar year with zero hat tricks three times: in 2011, 2004, and 2002.
The Coyotes scored 11 goals over a two game span in November of 1999. A good total, but made even better when it is seen that center Jeremy Roenick had six goals by himself during the games. Roenick recorded a hat trick in back-to-back games when he netted three goals against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 25, 1999, and then repeated the performance the next night against Colorado Avalanche.
Peter Mueller was drafted by the Coyotes with the eighth pick of the 2006 draft and cam with high expectations to be a star in the desert. The center only lasted two seasons in Arizona, but proved his worth quickly, with a hat trick in just his 12th career game at the young age of 19 years and 207 days. Mueller was the youngest Coyote to ever record a hat trick, and even added one more such game later that year before he turned 20.
Hat tricks are usually good indicators of success for a team, but every once in a while a great individual performance will be for naught when a team comes up short. This was the case for Mueller and Antoine Vermette when they racked up three goals in losses — a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames in 2008 for Mueller, and a 5-4 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks in January 2014 for Vermette.
Ladislav Nagy really wanted to punish the Carolina Hurricanes for committing penalties on March 12, 2005. That is probably the best explanation for why he took such advantage on the power play during the game, scoring all three of his goals for a hat trick when the other team was a man down, and adding two assists, during a 8-4 victory over the Hurricanes.