Nineteen years and 1,442 games after he entered the NHL, Nicklas Lidstrom
finally has a hat trick.
The six-time Norris Trophy winner scored three goals in a game for the first time in his NHL career on Wednesday night, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena.
Lidstrom opened the scoring 4:02 into the second period, added a power-play goal 2:46 into the third and fired the third one into an empty net with 30 seconds remaining.
"He's done everything else," coach Mike Babcock said. "He might as well do that."
At age 40, Lidstrom has 7 goals and 26 points in 30 games.
"Like fine wine, he gets better with age," Babcock said.
Lidstrom opened the scoring when Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak couldn't handle his knuckling shot from the top of the left circle. Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo tied it 1:18 later by beating Jimmy Howard
with a backhander.Niklas Kronwall
put the Wings ahead to stay at 16:07 by beating Halak from the top inside edge of the left circle. Cleary poked in a rebound for a power-play goal and his 14th of the season with at 17:38.
"Once we got our legs going, I thought we took the game over," Lidstrom said.
Lidstrom added his second goal on a power play 2:46 into the third period, beating Halak with a slap shot from the point. Brad Winchester's power-play goal 6:42 into the third period made it 4-2. He tipped in Alexander Steen's shot from the point.
With Halak on the bench for an extra attacker, Lidstrom took a pass from Cleary and hammered a slap shot into the empty net for the milestone.
"I was just trying to get it on net," Lidstrom said of the empty-netter. "It's been a long wait -- 19 years before I got one."