In January, NHL Green announced the launch of Hat Tricks for Trees™, an initiative assisting The Nature Conservancy’s effort to save Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. The National Hockey League Foundation is donating 50 trees for every hat trick scored throughout the 2012-13 regular season and NHL Playoffs.
To date, the League has now pledged to plant 1,000 trees as part of the initiative.
By the numbers: Only one player, Chris Kunitz, has recorded more than one hat trick at this point in the season. As a team, the Anaheim Ducks (Cogliano, Palmieri, Bonino), Philadelphia Flyers (Read, Voracek) and Calgary Flames (Glencross, Cammalleri) have had multiple players contribute hat tricks. Only one team (Anaheim Ducks) have lost this season when one of their players tallied three goals in a game (Cogliano, March 2). Of the twenty hat tricks recorded thus far, seven have been career-firsts (Voracek, Kopecky, Palmieri, Read, Bonino, Kadri and Sobotka).
Let’s take a look back at the players who notched hat tricks 11 through 20 this season, contributing 500 trees to the League’s total pledge:
Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers): Jakub Voracek scored the go-ahead goal with 1:31 remaining in the third period to cap a hat trick and lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a wild 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, February 20.
Tomas Kopecky (Florida Panthers): Tomas Kopecky recorded his first career hat trick, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 26. Kopecky, who made it six goals in his last six games, scored his third of the game on an empty-netter from his own blue line.
Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim Ducks): Palmieri snapped a 10-game scoring drought by netting three consecutive goals for his first NHL hat trick as the Ducks capped their third 11-win month in franchise history by routing the Nashville Predators 5-1 on February 27.
Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals): On Saturday, February 23, Alex Ovechkin produced his first hat trick in more than two years, leading the struggling Washington Capitals to a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin entered the game with five goals in 16 games this season, only good enough to be tied for third on his own team, which began the day with a 5-10-1 record and 11 standings points, the fewest in the 30-team NHL. But the two-time NHL MVP broke out in a big way, turning in his first three-goal game since a 4-1 victory at Toronto on Jan. 22, 2011.
Andrew Cogliano (Anaheim Ducks): Cogliano had three goals for the Ducks, his second NHL hat trick, who lost in a shootout to the Coyotes 5-4 on March 2. "I just got in the right spots, and I don't think (Mike) Smith was ready for them," Cogliano said of two of his goals. "I just wanted to shoot at the net quickly, and they went under him."
Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings): Jeff Carter completed his fifth career hat trick with two goals in a 19-second span of the third period, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Nashville Predators 5-1 on March 4 despite taking only 16 shots on net.
Nazem Kadri (Toronto Maple Leafs): Kadri notched his first career hat trick and Dion Phaneuf scored at 1:11 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders on February 28. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been waiting for Nazem Kadri to become the impact player they hoped he'd be when they took him with the seventh pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. If his performance against the Islanders is any indication, their patience is paying off.
Curtis Glencross (Calgary Flames): The Calgary Flames' return home after a poor road trip to California appeared to invigorate Glencross. He had a goal and an assist against the Detroit Red Wings on March 13 and followed two nights later with a hat trick against the Nashville Predators, scoring on four of his seven shots and going plus-5 in the two games. All three of his goals came in the third period of Western Night at the Scotiabank Saddledome as Calgary Flames won 6-3 over the Nashville Predators to extend their home winning streak to six games.
"After I got the second, I said it would be kind of cool to see a bunch of cowboy hats come on the ice. It's a little different, that doesn't happen very often," said Glencross, who helps out in the chuckwagon barns every summer during the Calgary Stampede. "Even the coaches came in after the game and said that's fitting, it's Cowboy Night and you get your hattie."
Vladimir Sobotka (St. Louis Blues): Vladimir Sobotka recorded his first career hat trick to lift the St. Louis Blues past the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Saturday, March 9. Sobotka, who is riding the best streak of his career, had two scores to tie the game before Patrik Berglund's game-winner 72 seconds into overtime.
Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins): Making this list for the second time (and now responsible for contributing 100 trees) Chris Kunitz posted his second hat trick of the season as the Penguins rocked the New York Islanders 6-1 on Sunday, March 10. As a player traditionally known more for his dirty work in front of the net than his talent for finding the back of it, Kunitz currently sits tied (with Steven Stamkos) for second in the NHL for points, behind teammate Sidney Crosby.