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.
On February 16, John Tavares tallied his fourth career hat trick, the tenth hat trick scored in the NHL this season. To date, the League has now pledged to plant 500 trees as part of the initiative.
Let’s take a look back at the players who notched the first ten hat tricks this season:
Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres) - Vanek began the NHL season on a torrid pace and is currently the League-leader with 25 points in 15 games played. On Thursday, January 31st, Vanek recorded his second five-point game when he had a hat trick and added a pair of assists, in a 7-4 Sabres win in Boston.
Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Redwings) - Detroit's new captain owns a five-point game this season as well -- he had a hat trick and two assists in the Red Wings' 5-3 victory against St. Louis in early February. On a team in transition, Zetterberg has raised his game.
Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins) – Penguin’s Chris Kunitz broke from a scoring drought in early February when he clinched the third hat trick in his career and a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. “You know what to expect,” said Captain Sidney Crosby of Kunitz. “(Kunitz) works hard, gets to a lot of loose pucks and creates a lot of pressure on other teams. Nobody likes to deal with him in front of the net.”
Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) - Staal and teammate Jeff Skinner scored 9 seconds apart during a four-goal second period for the Hurricanes, a game which they went on to win 6-3 over the Sabres. Staal restored Carolina's two-goal lead in the third period by firing the puck past Jhonas Enroth. He polished off his 13th career hat trick with an empty-netter with 1:28 left in the contest.
Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers) - Gaborik, who moved to the left wing this season to accommodate new teammate Rick Nash, is a pure goal scorer with hands that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said are some of the best in the League around the goal crease. He put them on display twice against the Bruins in late January, finessing the puck into the net for three important goals. Gaborik finished off a hat trick with a breakaway goal 26 seconds into overtime to give the Rangers their first win of the season.
Matt Read (Philadelphia Flyers) - Matt Read notched his first career hat trick in late January — and he thought it came pretty easily. Read helped his Philadelphia Flyers beat the Florida Panthers 7-1. "It's pretty special getting your first hat trick," Read said. "I'm the beneficiary of playing with two good guys (Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds). It's pretty easy when you're playing with two good players. Just be at the right spot at the right time -- and just do the little things right -- and good things are going to happen."
Nick Bonino (Anaheim Ducks) - Bonino scored two goals in the first six minutes of an early February game to chase Jonathan Quick from the net, before completing his first career hat trick against Jonathan Bernier. Bonino scored his third goal on a power play with 11:21 left in the game. The Anaheim Ducks beat the Los Angeles Kings in the first Freeway Faceoff of the season.
Steve Sullivan (Phoenix Coyotes) - Steve Sullivan scored three goals, his eighth career hat trick, when the Phoenix Coyotes skated passed the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 5-1 for their first win of the season. Sullivan put the game out of reach near the midpoint of the third period, squeezing a shot between goalie Steve Mason's pads on a redirect off a pass by Derek Morris. It was his first hat trick since Dec. 14, 2009.
Michael Cammalleri (Calgary Flames) - Still seeking his first goal of the season, Michael Cammalleri felt he was rounding into form before suffering a slightly torn hip flexor that forced him out of the Calgary Flames' lineup for three games. He didn't hesitate to make up for lost time. Coming back off the injury, Cammalleri had a hat trick – including the 200th goal of his career – as part of a four-point night as the Flames earned a 7-4 victory against the Dallas Stars on February 13.
John Tavares (New York Islanders) – John Tavares recorded his fourth career hat trick, and assisted on another goal, to lead the New York Islanders to a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on February 16. Tavares, the first player taken in the 2009 NHL Draft, is doing everything he possibly can to get the New York Islanders into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.
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