Stan Gilbertson has a hat trick all his own.
Gilbertson scored 85 goals in an NHL career that lasted just six seasons and 428 games. But on Dec. 25, 1971, Gilbertson, then a 27-year-old rookie, slid the puck into an empty net with 18 seconds remaining, wrapping up a 3-1 victory for the California Golden Seals against their in-state rival, the Los Angeles Kings -- and becoming the last NHL player to score a goal on Christmas.
It was his only goal of the night, but he earned the "Stan Gilbertson Hat Trick" by also taking the last penalty ever assessed in a Christmas game and being in the box for the last power-play goal.
The Seals-Kings game was one of six on Dec. 25, 1971, and it represented the end of an era. Hockey on Christmas was a staple of the NHL from the 1920s through '71, when the practice of playing on the holiday ended. In fact, from 1960 through 1967, every team in the League played on Dec. 25.
The NHL's holiday hockey history also includes playing on Christmas Eve -- a practice that ended in 1972.
The New York Rangers must have thought the Grinch made up their 1966-67 schedule. Not only were the Rangers one of three teams to play on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but both games were on the road (Toronto swept a home-and-home series with Boston). But the Rangers didn't whine about having to play at Montreal on Christmas Eve and then fly into Chicago for a game on Christmas Night -- in fact, they won both games, beating the Canadiens 4-3 and shutting out Chicago 1-0.