With three goals in the second period of Canada’s 6-0 victory over Austria Friday, Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter became the first player since 1988 to record a natural hat trick in one period of an Olympic game.
Carter, Canada’s No. 13 forward, earned the hat trick and a plus-5 rating despite playing the fewest amount of minutes through two periods (5:27). Prior to Carter, the last Canadian to achieve a natural hat trick at the Olympics was Paul Knox in 1956.
“Keeping it simple,” Carter told NBC Sports Net’s Pierre McGuire of his play in the second period. “I benefited off my linemates’ work and going to the net and tapping pucks in, they haven’t been pretty but we’ll take every one.”
The six-goal victory was a welcoming sight for the Canadiens after their 3-1 victory over Norway Thursday, the country’s first game since winning gold four years ago.
“I just think we played better as a team,” Chicago forward Jonathan Toews said. “I think we knew where we wanted to put pucks to keep plays alive. I think the first period yesterday sometimes we’re chasing the pucks, finally we got possession and we gave it up a little too easy because we’re a little too eager to give it to our linemates. Each guy played their own game tonight and you know confidence as far as creating offense is going to come more and more as we go along but we were smart in our own zone as well.”
Drew Doughty and Shea Weber opened up the scoring for Canada, netting goals in the first ten minutes of the game to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead. Weber now has goals in back-to-back games of the Olympic preliminary tournament, as the defenseman also scored in the team’s opening game against Norway Thursday.
The second period belonged to Carter, who made history with the first natural hat trick in the Olympics in 26 years. The forward scored his first two goals within 90 seconds early in the second period to give Canada a four-goal lead. His third goal came off a rebound with just over five minutes left in the period.
“He was just finding the right spots, it didn’t matter who was out there,” Toews said. “Patty Marleau was making some good plays, Sid made a good play on the one. We were just feeding off each other and as long as someone’s banging them home it doesn’t matter so it was nice to see a few go in as a line tonight.”
Ryan Getzlaf closed the second period with a backhand shot from the slot to give the Canadiens a six-goal lead.
Behind 23 saves, goaltender Roberto Luongo earned a shutout to help Canada remain unbeaten in the preliminary tournament. But as Carter extended his hand to give the game puck to Luongo, the goaltender waved it off, clearly happy to let it stay with the forward who scored half of the team’s goals.
Marleau earned the primary assist on all three of Carter’s goals, while Toews recorded the assist on Doughty’s game-winning goal.
With Wings coach Mike Babcock at the helm, Canada will play its final preliminary tournament game against Finland Sunday at 12 p.m. on USA.
Follow Andrea Nelson on Twitter @Nelson_Andrea