Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
“I’m really happy,” said Jakub Vrana last night about scoring his first NHL hat trick, second career multi-goal game, and extending his point streak to five games in the Capitals 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
The young left winger, already a star on the Capitals roster, is known for his on-ice speed and prowess with the puck. “He’s started to find his game,” Reirden said about Vrana, “and now we’ve seen some really good results”. And those good results included three even strength goals last night, a feat that was last achieved on the Capitals roster by Alex Ovechkin in December 2018.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) November 4, 2019
While Vrana chalks up his success to “working hard”, second line center Evgeny Kuznetsov was not surprised by last night’s success. “When I see him [Vrana] wide open like that, I just gotta give it [the puck] to him and he will deliver it,” said Kuznetsov, who was on the assist for two of Vrana’s goals.
It seems that Capitals fans are on the cusp of witnessing the synergistic effect of Vrana’s natural talent, hockey acumen, and expanding NHL experience, a trifecta that is reminiscent of Ovechkin and Backstrom during their “Young Guns” days.
The young left winger scored 24 points in the 2018-2019 regular season and is the first Capitals player to score 24 goals before his 24th birthday since the 2009-2010 season when Nicklas Backstrom hit 33 goals. Vrana’s was also the first Capitals rookie to tally double digit goals (13) since Alex Ovechkin in 2005-2006.
One of my favorite things about Ovi is how instinctively and sincerely happy he is when his teammates do well. He’s always been this way. This is after Vrana’s hat trick. https://t.co/yDzHWcXE6C
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) November 4, 2019
It seems that Vrana is clearly following in some great footsteps and with nine goals already to his credit this year, is projected to exceed his 24 goals this season. In addition to the hat trick, this is his second consecutive multi-goal game for and the Capitals first hat trick since January 2019.
How many legendary DC sports moments can you cram into one night? https://t.co/xAQJutkscS
— John Walton (@WaltonCaps) November 4, 2019
“He’s got speed and a shot and starting to figure out how to use them,” Lars Eller said reflecting on Vrana’s performance. Caps fans should feel excited to watch Vrana as one of the team’s rising stars increasing the lethality of the second line as he continues to mature as a player and one of the team’s scoring leaders.
By Stephanie Judge