Photo: Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images
Former Washington Capitals left-wing Nathan Walker scored a hat-trick in his 2021-22 regular-season debut for the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night in the team’s 6-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Enterprise Center after getting recalled from the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds earlier in the day. The 27-year-old matched his career goal total in 25 NHL games entering Thursday in 49:27 of the game.
After getting a pass by center Brayden Schenn from the right circle, Walker ripped one from the high slot through the legs of Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic 6:17 into the first period.
10:30 later, Walker got a drop pass from defenseman Niko Mikkola, faked a shot, hesitated, and ripped one past the glove of Nedeljkovic from above the left dot to make it 2-0.
Walker deflected defenseman Torey Krug’s blast from up top past Nedeljkovic’s blocker in the slot to extend the Blues’ lead to 4-1 9:27 into the third.
Walker, the first Australian born NHL player, signed with the Blues as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019 and has eight points in his NHL career. He has earned six goals and 17 points in 19 games with the Thunderbirds this season.
The Capitals drafted Walker 89th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. He scored 96 goals and 181 points in 373 games for the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
The lone goal Walker scored for the Capitals came in his NHL debut on October 7, 2017.
By Harrison Brown