Photo: Alex Brandon, AP
Each week over the course of 10 weeks, NoVa Caps’ contributor Michael Marzzacco will take a look back at what he believes were the Top 10 Moments of the 2015-2016 Washington Capitals’ season.
#8: Justin Williams Hat Trick vs. NYR, January 17, 2016
And Joe B says: “Justin Williams gets the hat trick in a very unusual fashion!”
The Capitals welcomed their arch-rivals to Verizon Center for the first time since that “elephant in the room” from the previous year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. After falling to the Rangers in Game 7, one of the Capitals biggest off-season acquisitions from that summer was Justin Williams, who they signed during free agency.
Williams, a 2014 Conn Smythe winner, has an impressive resume when it comes to postseason play but this particular game might be his best regular season game of his career with his second career hat trick, and his first with Washington in a 5-2 win over the Rangers.
The visitors jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Chris Kreider midway through the first period. A power play goal by Alex Ovechkin just under two minutes left tied the game as the teams headed to the dressing room with an even score.
At 7:18 in the second, the Caps took the lead 2-1 on a power play goal by Marcus Johansson. From that point on, it was all Justin Williams. His first goal came just 62 seconds after Mojo’s. A wrist shot by Taylor Chorney came towards the net and Williams deflected it past Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta.
The Rangers got a goal back and Washington had a 3-2 lead entering the final period. The Caps added another goal early in the third. Andre Burakovsky intercepted a pass in the Rangers defensive zone, fed the puck to Evgeny Kuznetsov who found Williams at the doorstep. Williams put it in for his second of the night.
The Rangers, trailing 4-2 with under two minutes left, got a sixth attacker as Raanta headed to the bench for the empty net. Williams took advantage of a turnover by Keith Yandle and shot the puck into the net to complete the hat trick.
In case you missed the other two moments you can take a look by clicking below:
#10: Kuzy’s Hat Trick | Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers
#9: A Blowout at The Garden | Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers
By Michael Marzzacco