Rocco Grimaldi did his part to rewrite the Predators' record books on Thursday night.
Grimaldi tallied his first-career hat trick in just 2:34 in the first period - and he finished with four goals in total - as Nashville cruised to a 7-1 win over Detroit to complete a two-game sweep of the Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena. The result gives the Preds their third consecutive win and a 5-1-0 mark in the past six outings.
Nashville exploded to score four goals within a 2:34 span before Thursday's game was eight minutes old, and that outburst, along with Grimaldi's franchise-record-tying four goals for himself, gave the Predators yet another satisfactory effort to win game No. 16 on the season.
And, of course, Grimaldi, who scored all four goals with his hockey stick he named Trudy, had himself a night.
Video: Josi, Olivier and Grimaldi discuss Preds' 7-1 win
"Sometimes you go 15 games with nothing, sometimes you have a night when you have four," Grimaldi said. "I mean, it's a strange, strange game sometimes, and I think for me, personally, I can be pretty pessimistic at times and wonder if the puck is ever going to go in again... Doesn't really matter if I'm scoring, as long as the team's winning games, and that's what my focus needs to be on all the time. It's nice to be rewarded, but as long as my effort's there, how else can you say that you're not doing what you're trying to do, what you're supposed to do? For me, that's working hard, being consistent, so as long as I'm doing that, I'm all right."
Video: Hynes talks Grimaldi's four-goal game and 7-1 win
"It was pretty special," Preds Captain Roman Josi said of Grimaldi's four-goal night. "Coach said it's the fastest hat trick in franchise history, and it's pretty cool. There were some nice goals, too. Like, they weren't easy goals, really nice goals by him, so it's always pretty cool when a teammate does something special like that. We're all really happy for him."
Video: DET@NSH: Grimaldi lifts wrist shot past Greiss
Grimaldi's first goal of the evening came at 5:34 of the opening frame when he collected a slick feed from Erik Haula and roofed a shot over the shoulder of Detroit goaltender Thomas Greiss for a 1-0 lead. Eeli Tolvanen then converted from the left circle on the power play with another perfectly-placed shot to double the advantage, and just 16 seconds later, Grimaldi potted his second of the evening to spell the end of the night for Greiss.
Video: DET@NSH: Grimaldi betas Greiss from a tight angle
Netminder Calvin Pickard took over for the Wings, but 29 seconds later, Grimaldi deposited another feed from Haula to complete the hat trick in a franchise-record time span. Additionally, goals two through four for the team were scored in a 45-second span to set a franchise record for the fastest three goals by the Preds in a single game.
Video: DET@NSH: Grimaldi records a hat trick in the 1st
"It was an interesting first period for sure," Grimaldi said. "The game, in general, just the first period was a whirlwind. I thought my line was playing really well. [Haula] gave me two really, really solid passes. I mean, if you just look at the third one, backdoor, right on my tape, empty net; I thought my linemates played a great game, and the team played a great game. It's a really good team game tonight."
"Rocco was flying, and it brought a ton of energy to our team and a ton of energy to the building," Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. "We talked in between the first and second period, and just the way that the team responded to start the second period, the way we played the third period, I thought just showed a lot of guys buying in, playing the right way, doing the right things, playing for each other; I thought as the game went on, we continued to play the right way, and I think that's a mark of a group that's really committed to each other."
Detroit beat Juuse Saros on the power play late in the first period to get on the board, but in the second stanza, Mikael Granlund restored a four-goal lead for the Predators when he scored his seventh of the campaign.
Mathieu Olivier added his second in as many outings in the third, and then, with fewer than three minutes to play in regulation, Grimaldi ended the game the way he started it. On a breakaway, with his signature move to the forehand, he put home one more strike for his fourth goal of the night to tie a Preds franchise record originally set by Eric Nystrom back in 2014.
Video: DET@NSH: Grimaldi nets his fourth goal of the game
"I was more in shock," Grimaldi said on scoring his fourth. "[I scored] three goals in 10 minutes, and we just were laughing like, 'What is going on?' ... But [I wanted to have] a consistent effort. I didn't want to just rest on the three and then cheat for offense. I wanted to show my teammates that I was in it to win and I was there to do whatever it took to win, playing good defense and being smart with the puck. I think that's probably the hardest thing if you have a good period like that is to be satisfied and rest on that. There was so much game left, and that was something that I thought our line did a good job with that we played well the rest of the game."
Video: DET@NSH: Grimaldi nets four goals in 7-1 victory
Grimaldi's achievement was the final exclamation point on a night that saw the Preds score seven goals for the first time since December of 2019 - and the two-game sweep of Detroit was a perfect way to return home from an eight-game trip over the previous two weeks.
"Our consistency has been so much better," Josi said. "Just the work ethic… Before that long road trip, we knew it was a big road trip for us, and we got those two games at home against Florida that we didn't play well at all… And like I said, the guys worked extremely hard. Seems like everyone is playing their role, everyone wants to win for the team, we're playing as a team, everybody's doing their job. So, I think just our team game is a lot more solid now, and it shows on the scoresheet."
The win is most important at the end of the night, but March 25, 2021, is a night Grimaldi - nor any of his teammates - will ever forget for at least four reasons.
"I was really, really happy for Rocco," Olivier said. "He's been telling me the last few games that he's due for one, and he got the first one early and then he was gone for the rest of the game and scored three more. It's awesome to see. I think everybody's really happy for him."
Video: Grimaldi's four-goal game propels Predators to win
From NHL Public Relations, Grimaldi's hat trick in 2:34 on Thursday was the 22nd-fastest three goals scored by a player in NHL history.
Preds defenseman Dante Fabbro appeared in his 100th career game in Thursday's win.
Nashville's lineup remained the same for both victories against the Red Wings.
The Predators will now head back on the road for a back-to-back set against the Blackhawks on Saturday and Sunday night in Chicago (both at 7 p.m. CT).