Russian hockey star, Ilya Kovalchuk, has scored three goals and added an assist to help the New Jersey Devils collect a 4-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres.
Kovalchuk gave his team the first period lead with a power play effort and netted two more goals in the final 20 minutes to put his team’s success beyond doubt.
His third goal was scored into an empty net, with the 28-year-old having unselfish Zach Parise to thank for the pass.
“Zach’s got the empty-net breakaway, and I was just thinking he was going to put it in,” Kovalchuk told AP. “That says a lot about his leadership.”
During the game, Parise said he’ll help the Russian complete his hat-track and kept his promise.
“Opportunities for hat tricks don’t come very often,” the Devils’ captain said. “I don’t think he was expecting the pass.”
Three goals in Buffalo became the twelfth hat-trick in Kovalchuk’s NHL career, with the previous one coming three years ago when he was playing for the Atlanta Thrashers.