As a fourth-line grinding center, it’s easy to forget that Cedric Paquette had a hat trick during his rookie season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. A fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Paquette spent one full season in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch, earning a call-up for two games and the Lightning’s four playoff games. He would only play in five more AHL games in his sophomore professional season before making the Lightning’s roster full time.
Over 236 career NHL games, Paquette has 27 goals. Throw in another four goals in 62 playoff games and you have a player that isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut. His rookie season of 2014-15 has been by far his most productive season when he scored 12 goals and 19 points in 64 games. He’s combined for only 15 goals in the three following seasons.
But for one night, January 29th, 2015, he looked like an unstoppable force with the puck picking up three goals including the game winner in a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings before a 19,204 people in Amalie Arena. He is one of only three Lightning rookies to record a hat trick, joining Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson. It was also the second of his four career multi-goal games. The three points mark a career high for him that he has only matched one other time.
So let’s take a look back at history and go through each of his goals and how he got them. Below, you will find a YouTube video where you can see them in all their glory.
In his first goal, we saw the kind of goal that you expect to see from Paquette. It was a goal earned with hard work and grit right around the goal mouth. Jason Garrison took a wrist shot from the left point towards the net with Paquette moving out to the front of the net after having gone into the corner to help support the puck retrieval. The puck hit Alex Killorn in front of the net and bounced right to Paquette. He took a back hand swipe at the puck to get it on net. Petr Mrazek made the save with his outstretched left leg. The puck bounced back to Paquette once again and he was able to back hand it up higher and get it over Mrazek for the goal. The goal was assisted by Killorn and Garrison
His second goal of the night though was not the type you normally expect from such a player. Battling along the boards for the puck, Paquette moved the puck down to Jonathan Drouin. Drouin moved it back towards him and hit a skate. Paquette was able to gather the puck and drag it back to the middle. He got it to the right wing faceoff dot, pulled the puck back in towards himself to avoid a defenders stick and he sniped the puck over Mrazek’s left shoulder. The goal was assisted by Drouin and Killorn.
The third goal of the night came short handed as Paquette was on the penalty kill after Ryan Callahan had been sent to the box on a minor for board. 50 seconds into the penalty kill, Brian Boyle went to the left point to challenge Henrik Zetterberg for the puck. Zetterberg, being disrupted by Boyle, tried to get the puck off the wall to a teammate. Instead, Paquette was right there to chop at the puck. He flipped it up and over Stephen Weiss, stepped around him, and retrieved the puck as Niklas Kronwall failed to swipe it away when he swung his stick at the puck.
Going two-on-one against Kronwall with Boyle cutting to the left wing side to give him a pass option, Paquette got back to the same spot he was in for his second goal. This time, he put the puck in on the short side getting it past Mrazek’s arm and just inside the goal post. Callahan had to sit in the box for just a little bit longer as the hats rained down from the Lightning faithful at Amalie Arena. The third goal went down as an unassisted, short handed goal for Paquette.