Nashville Predators Colton Sissons Makes NHL History

Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators forward did something never before achieved in the 100 year history of the NHL.

Nashville Predators fans were served up a good time if they tuned in to see their team thwomp the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-1 Thursday night. Not only did the Fangs earn two points via 6 goals on only 19 shots, but NHL history was made along the way.

Second-year depth forward Colton Sissons earned his first career hat trick, and did it in a distinctly peculiar fashion. He was the first player in league history to score his second of three goals in a game against an empty net- with the third (and hat trick qualifier) coming against a goalie.

How exactly did this oddity come about? The 23-year-old Sissons kicked off his historical effort with a nicely-placed compact shot off a feed from Captain Mike Fisher to beat a leaky Andrei Vasilevskiy near the mid-point of the second period.

The goal put the Nashville Predators up 3-1 against the underperforming Lightning goaltender, who filled in between the pipes for injured Tampa Bay starter Ben Bishop. The key to the magical hat trick, however, came after a Ryan Ellis marker swelled the lead to 4-1, causing Lightning head coach Jon Cooper to pull his keeper with a hefty six minutes remaining in the game.

With an empty net (notably, only slightly less protected than with Vasilevskiy guarding it on this night) the perennial fourth liner Sissons was able to notch his second goal of the game with a gentle tap-in following a tremendous defensive play and set-up by Calle Jarnkrok. The play doubled Sissons’ goal total on the year.

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Now down an unreachable 5-1, Cooper chose to place his keeper back in net, where he was once again victimized with only 3 minutes of play remaining. Sissons was left alone to slam-dunk home a puck that was sitting idly upon the goal line for his first career hat trick, thanks in large part to a beautiful Anthony Bitetto pass and another primary assist from Calle Jarnkrok.

As far as individual efforts go, Colton was certainly the beneficiary of being in the right place at the right time on his historical night, but that’s just good hockey. After suffering a number of healthy scratches this season due to what has been a vaguely underwhelming campaign for the sophomore skater, here’s to hoping the big night (and the spot in NHL record books) sparks a boost in confidence for the fourth line player.

Captain Mike Fisher and Calle Jarnkrok both earned multi-point nights along with top line center Ryan Johansen in a solid effort that was anchored strongly by goaltender Pekka Rinne, who saved 27 of 28 shots on the night.

The win moved the Nashville Predators to only a single point outside of the Western Conference Playoff picture, especially important considering the absences of star players P.K. Subban (upper body, IR) and James Neal (upper body, day-to-day).

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The Predators (17-14-7) are expected to start young backup goaltender Juuse Saros in the second half of their back-to-back road games tonight against the Florida Panthers (16-15-8). The two teams will be searching for an edge in what has been an inconsistent season for each squad, both of whom were playoff contenders last year.