The Pittsburgh Penguins were 8-5 winners over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday afternoon to extend their current winning streak to eight games thanks in large part to hat tricks from Evan Rodrigues and Bryan Rust. It is the eighth time in franchise history that the Penguins have had multiple hat tricks in the same game and the first time since another pair of players to wear jersey Nos. 9 and 17, Pascal Dupuis and Petr Sykora, accomplished it against the New York Islanders on December 11, 2008 at the old Mellon Arena.
Just for fun, let us take a look back at all of those games.
Pens with 2 HTs in one GP before today:— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) January 2, 2022
12/11/08 v NYI (Dupuis, Sykora)
4/9/93 @ NYR (Mario, Mullen)
11/18/91 @ Que (Stevens, Recchi)
10/15/87 v NYR (Mario, Quinn)
12/31/85 @ StL (Mario, Bullard)
2/21/76 v Chi (MacDonald, Larouche)
12/17/75 @ Calif (Kelly, Apps)
December 17, 1975: Bob Kelly and Syl Apps vs. the California Golden Seals
The 1975-76 Penguins might be the most fascinating pre-Mario Lemieux/Sidney Crosby team in franchise history.
Overall, they were pretty much a .500 team that lost in the preliminary round of the playoffs (two games to one to the Toronto Maple Leafs) which is not really that exciting. BUT, their games had to be complete madness.
They were the second highest scoring team in the league, scoring 339 goals in 80 games, just nine goals behind the league-leading Philadelphia Flyers.
Jean Pronovost and Pierre Larouche both scored 50 goals, finishing third-and-fourth in the league. The Penguins also had three of the league’s top-10 point producers (Pronovost, Larouche, Apps) and five of the top-35 (Rick Kehoe at 28 and Lowell MacDonald at 33). Just for good measure, defenseman Ron Stackhouse was 39th to give them six of the top-40 scorers in the league.
Legitimately one of the best offensive teams in franchise history.
The only problem was they could not stop anybody, finishing near the bottom of the league in goals against. Their average game featured EIGHT GOALS, by far the highest mark in the league.
This team was so good offensively that they actually pulled off the dual hat trick feat TWICE, the only team in Penguins history to do that.
The first instance happened on December 17 in a 9-1 win over the California Golden Seals when Apps and Bob Kelly accomplished the feat. This was one of two games that season where the Penguins scored at least nine goals, and one of five where they scored at least eight goals. They also had 14(!) seven goal games. Total madness. Apps added two assists for a five-point effort, while Kelly had an assist for a four-point game.
February 21, 1976: Pierre Larouche and Lowell MacDonald vs. Chicago Blackhawks
The second of those dual hat trick games for the 1975-76 Penguins, and this is probably the most laughable of them.
This was a 10-1 against a pretty good Chicago Blackhawks team, while both Larouche and MacDonald had completed their hat tricks by the 12:40 mark of the second period! They had a 6-0 lead after the first period and at one point were winning 9-0 before Chicago scored its lone goal late in the second period. Larouche finished the game with 13 shots on goal, while MacDonald had seven shots on goal.
This was part of a month of February where the Penguins scored 72 goals in 14 games, averaging more than five goals per game. This game came during a four-game winning streak where the Penguins scored 29 goals. That is 7.25 goals per game.
December 31, 1985: Mario Lemieux and Mike Bullard vs. the St. Louis Blues
Now we get into the Mario Lemieux portion of this, as he and Bullard combined for hat tricks in an 8-4 win against the Blues.
Lemieux actually scored four goals in this game on only four shots on goal, while also adding two assists.
Bullard also completed his hat trick by scoring an even-strength goal in the first period, a shorthanded goal in the third period, and then a power play goal in the third period. That shorthanded goal is one of only two that he scored in his career. Oddly enough, the other shorthanded goal also happened during that 1985-86 season.
October 15, 1987: Mario Lemieux and Dan Quinn vs. the New York Rangers
The notable thing about this game is that the Penguins did not actually win the game. They tied the New York Rangers, 6-6, at the Civic Arena. Imagine getting two hat tricks in the same game and not winning. That is the mid-1980s Pittsburgh Penguins for you, I guess.
Lemieux and Quinn accounted for all of the offense in the game, with each of them recording five points (three goals, two assists) in a game that featured 10 special teams goals (eight power plays goals and two shorthanded goals). Lemieux and Quinn both scored shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill in the first period. In case you are curious, the Rangers (Gord Walker and Marcel Dionne) scored the only even-strength goals in the game,
November 18, 1991: Kevin Stevens and Mark Recchi vs. the Quebec Nordiques
The early 1990s Pittsburgh Penguins, in the middle of back-to-back Stanley Cup seasons, beat a terrible Quebec Nordiques team by a 7-3 margin and had multiple hat tricks in the game. Mario Lemieux did not have one of those hat tricks. Not only did he not have one of those hat tricks, he only had one assist in the game. This was the Stevens and Recchi show with Recchi leading the way with a six-point effort and seven shots on goal, also adding three assists in the win.
April 9, 1993: Mario Lemieux and Joe Mullen vs. The New York Rangers
You might remember this as the night the Pittsburgh Penguins set the record for the NHL’s longest winning streak in a 10-4 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Mullen had three goals on three shots on goal (also pulling off the even-strength, shorthanded, power play hat trick) while Lemieux scored five goals and earned a standing ovation from the visiting New York crowd.
I have always said the greatest accomplishment of Lemieux’s career was the fact he received standing ovations in New York and Philadelphia as a visiting player. In the same season.
Including playoffs this was part of a 20-0-1 run for the Penguins that season and entering their second round matchup against the New York Islanders they were 21-1-1 over a 22-game stretch. Which is just absurd. No idea what happened in that second-round matchup though as I have completely erased it from my memory.
December 11, 2008: Pascal Dupuis and Petr Sykora vs. The New York Islanders
This is a 9-2 win for the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins over the New York Islanders. The notable thing about this game is that it was the first career hat trick for Sykora after having a ton of two-goal games throughout his career.
Philippe Boucher, Miroslav Satan, and Evgeni Malkin were the other goal scorers in this game for the Penguins.
Another fun fact: Their winning goalie in this game: John Curry. This was one of his three wins as a member of the Penguins in only four starts. He only played eight games in his entire NHL career.
January 2, 2022: Evan Rodrigues and Bryan Rust vs. The San Jose Sharks
The most recent performance obviously came on Sunday when Rodrigues and Rust each scored three goals in an 8-5 win over the San Jose Sharks. Rust scored three goals and added two assists in his return to the lineup after missing more than a month, while Rodrigues continued what has been an absolutely unbelievable season that nobody expected.