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Once in a century hat trick history made in NHL openers

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates his third goal of the game as Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) skates behind during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Ottawa, Ontario, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

he hats were flying on the first two nights of the NHL season.

Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Simmonds and Brandon Saad each recorded a hat trick in his team's season opener. It's the first time four different players scored at least three goals in his season opener in 100 years, since the NHL's first two games back in 1917.

Ovechkin's hat trick that led the Washington Capitals to a 5-4 shootout victory at Ottawa was the 18th of his career, most among active players and tied for 20th-most all time. Reigning MVP McDavid picked up his second already at age 20.

The hat tricks by McDavid and Simmonds were the first, respectively, in franchise history for the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers in a season opener. Saad's hat trick in a 10-1 drubbing of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins was the first by a Chicago Blackhawks player in a season opener since Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull in 1965.

The four players who scored three-plus goals in the league's first-ever games — Joe Malone and Harry Hyland of the Montreal Wanderers, Cy Denneny of the original Ottawa Senators and Reg Noble of the Toronto Arenas — were all alive more than 100 years before McDavid was born.

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