ST. PAUL – When P.K. Subban
scored his third goal of the night against the Wild, he didn’t just notch his first career hat trick; he also made Habs history.
On a team whose history spans over a century, it’s hard to imagine there are any firsts left for current Canadiens players to attain. There are even fewer left to check off the list now that Subban has become the first rookie Habs defenseman to ever record a hat trick.
Scoring on 75 percent of his shots against the Wild, the 21-year-old phenom also added an assist in his game-high 23:30 of ice time on Sunday night.
“Today was just one of those nights where we played well as a team and stuck to the game plan the whole night,” offered the game’s first star. “When you get the puck and keep possession of it, things start to open up.
“We did all the right things today – look at Whitey. He gave me the puck twice in the right area and I just put it on net,” described Subban of Ryan White
, who potted his first career NHL goal and picked up a Gordie Howe hat trick by adding two assists and a fight in his 9:17 on the ice. “It’s obviously a great achievement and it was great to be able to get that [record], but it didn’t feel like I was trying to score; things just happened for me,”
One of the nicest – and possibly riskiest – plays of the night led to Subban’s second goal of the game in the second period. Wheeling around the entire offensive zone and pulling out a spin-o-rama down low before straddling the blue line with a Wild penalty killer glued to him the entire time, the rookie blue-liner kept himself out of Jacques Martin’s dog house by finishing his highlight-reel play with a power play goal.
“It’s one of those things where if he pokes it out at the blue line, maybe I’m sitting on the bench the rest of the game,” admitted Subban with a smile. “When I first got it, I wanted to shoot it right away, but the puck was kind of rolling. I faked and went down and thought maybe I could find Davey [Desharnais] in the slot but they did a pretty good job of collapsing down low so I took it back up top.
“I don’t know how much [Habs assistant coach] Perry [Pearn] liked the fact that I was twisting and turning at the blue line,” added Subban. “But I ended up keeping possession of it and I knew I had to get it to the net so I got a little bit lucky that it hit a skate and went through the goalie’s legs. It was just that kind of night.”
In a game where 13 different players factored into the scoring – including netminder Alex Auld, who had as many points as the entire Wild team in the 8-1 win – even Carey Price
got in on the action from the bench, tossing his Habs tuque onto the ice to commemorate Subban’s milestone moment.
“I didn’t see it, but I’m not surprised he did something like that,” laughed Subban of his post-game triple-low-fiving partner. “Are any of you guys surprised?”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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