The Washington Capitals’ 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday was a rather strange affair. The crowd inside Capital One Arena was treated to two ten-minute fouls, six fighting athletes, four roughing penalties and one ejection.
It was old hockey and the Capitals winger Anthony Mantha recorded a fitting mid-fight achievement. The big forward recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick as he scored a goal, tallied an assist and scramble.
Mantha accomplished the hockey feat twice with the Detroit Red Wings before his end with the Caps on Friday. That means he actually now has more Gordie Howe career hat tricks than the man this whole thing is named after. Although he played a record 2,421 professional hockey games, Howe himself only managed two in his NHL career.
Mantha grabbed the first third of the scoresheet’s claims halfway through the first period. He took a fantastic cross-ice pass from Lars Eller, skated to the puck and put it past a helpless Andrei Vasilevskiy for his fifth goal of the season.
It was only Mantha’s second goal in his last eleven games.
Early in the third period, Mantha set up Conor Sheary with a deft pass that let the diminutive winger penetrate the Lightning defense zone untouched on a breakaway. Sheary beat Vasilveskiy high above the glove to give Mantha his third assist of the year.
The assist marked Mantha’s second multi-point game in his last four outings and his 43rd career multi-point game.
Mantha completed the hat trick with a fight against Corey Perry late in the game during a line scramble caused by a back check by John Carlson. Manta’s jersey got stuck on his head early in the fight and he hung on for dear life after that.
It was Mantha’s second shutout of the season and twelfth of his NHL career.
Reminder: These two teams will meet on Sunday at Amalie Arena. 🍿
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) November 12, 2022
The last Caps player to record a Gordie Howe hat trick before this one was Tyler Lewington on December 29, 2018 against the Ottawa Senators. In that game, Lewington became the only player to complete a hat trick with all three components being the first of his NHL career.
Header photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB