On New Year’s Day, Ladislav Nagy gave something Kings fans had not seen in almost two years and in over 125 regular season games.
Nagy scored three goals in a game, the Kings first hat trick since Luc Robitaille accomplished the feat on Jan. 19, 2006 vs. Atlanta.
It was the franchise’ 164th hat trick and it assured that the 2007-08 edition of the Los Angeles Kings would not join the 2003-04 and 2006-07 Kings as the only two teams in the 40-year history of the franchise to not have a single player score a hat trick.
"It was a team effort,” Nagy said. “Everybody playing well, our line, me, Froly (Alexander Frolov) and Army (Derek Armstrong)."
Head coach Marc Crawford agreed stating that “Nagy and Frolov had the puck on a string tonight."
Frolov finished with two goals, the second of which was his 100th NHL goal, and also adding three assists for his first career five-point game. For Nagy, who also assisted on two other goals, it was his third career hat trick and second five-point game in the NHL.
His last hat trick and only career five-point game took place over two years and two teams ago, as Nagy tallied 3-2=5 on Dec. 3, 2005 with Phoenix vs. Carolina. Ironically, Nagy had his first hat against the Kings in 2003.
And it was the first time since Oct. 9, 1993 that two Kings scored at least five points in a game, when some guy named Wayne Gretzky and Tomas Sandstrom each had six points in a 10-3 home win over the Red Wings.
To top it off, the Kings have now won three straight after losing eight straight games in December.
Is that a great start to 2008 or what?
Nagy has been playing well of late and now has points in five straight games (3-7=10 over that span), points in six of seven games (3-9=12) and seven of nine (4-9-13), which ended an eight game scoreless streak for the first-year King forward.
"We just started having fun,” Nagy said. “Right now, we just played like a team. We've got half a season to go and nothing to lose."
Nagy was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on July 2, along with Michal Handzus, Kyle Calder and Tom Preissing, a move that at the time was supposed to provide some secondary scoring and take some of the pressure off the Kings crop of young forwards in Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Michael Cammalleri and Alexander Frolov.
Through the first 22 games, Nagy had scored just 4-7=11 before this recent surge. He earned his 300th career point Dec. 22 at Nashville, for his career now, Nagy has tallied 114-195=309 in 428 games with St. Louis, Phoenix, Dallas and now Los Angeles.
He has eight goals on the year while scoring just 12 all of last season. His plus five rating is tops on the club and he is one of only three players with a positive plus/minus, Scott Thornton and Derek Armstrong are the others.
Frolov, on the other hand, had been bothered by a sore groin for much of the season missing time in the preseason and training camp and then injuring the other groin in November and missing 11 games from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15. In the first seven games since returning to the lineup, Frolov had just three points, all assists. Fro matched his assist total and nearly doubled his point total in Tuesday’s game alone.
Perhaps the groin is starting to feel better? Frolov feels the injury is ‘so-so,’ but told the LA Daily News that "Sometimes I feel a little bit better sometimes I feel a little bit worse. I guess with injuries like that I need to have some time off the ice to heal up 100 percent and it's hard to get it right now and I don't really want to shut it down. I really want to play so I'm just playing through it."
For the season, Frolov has 6-22=28 in 30 games and with half the season to go, the Kings no doubt need the talented winger in the lineup.