Detroit Red Wings: Top 10 Moments Of Last Season – #10 Hank’s Hat Trick


When most people work and save up money to go on a vacation they usually plan trips that involve sandy beaches, stunning picturesque views, or some sort of naturally beautiful place that offers them a relief from their daily grind. However, being a die-hard, non-Michigander Detroit Red Wings fan who doesn’t care too much for tropical climates, I prefer to take trips to Hockeytown and the Joe Louis Arena.

On my most recent visit to The Joe and the Motor City I was fortunate enough to witness a rare and inspired performance by Red Wings’ captain Henrik Zetterberg. The day was January, 18th and the Red Wings were on a three-game winning streak and they faced a struggling Buffalo Sabres team who had lost their previous 10 games, the game had “trap” written all over it.

The Wings hosted the Nashville Predators the previous night, defeating the Preds by a score of 5-2. Detroit’s solid performance against Nashville had the Joe Louis arena rocking and the fans ended the night by having a celebratory sing along to Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. All was well in the land of Hockeytown, and fans like myself were already waiting for the back-to-back game against the Sabres the next day.

After a delicious dinner in Detroit’s Greektown district, I arrived at The Joe extra early on Sunday to make sure that I got my free Red Wings Travel mug (because who doesn’t love free swag from their favorite team), and found my seat 6 rows up from the ice, just to the right of the Sabres’ bench. I was slightly hungover, full of delectable Greek-food, and had no real fear of the visiting team.

But on this Sunday evening, the Sabres would not come out and play like the perennial bottom-dwelling team they had been all season long. Drew Stafford came out and opened the scoring for Buffalo less than two minutes into the game, after that the Sabres never took their foot off the gas and ended the first period with a 3-0 lead over the Red Wings. Petr Mrazek, who was lights-out the previous night against Nashville, allowed three goals on seven shots and was pulled before the end of the opening period.

Needless to say, there weren’t many happy faces in Hockeytown between periods, as well as in the Detroit dressing room too I’m sure. “Time to wake up boys” was probably the most overheard phrase of the night up until the point, and when the second period started, the boys did indeed wake up.

Detroit scored two goals in the first five minutes of the second period, and had the game tied at 3-3 at the halfway point of the game. You could feel the momentum being completely taken back and controlled by the Red Wings, and in the third period it would be the bearded captain from Sweden who would steal the show.

Just shy of two minutes into the final twenty minutes of play, Zetterberg banged in his first of three on Jhonas Enroth during a delayed penalty against the Sabres. Three minutes later Hank would get his second goal during a power-play after burying a nice centering-pass to the slot from Gustav Nyquist.

Hank’s third goal of the game was pure hockey poetry in motion. With 8 minutes left in the final period, Zetterberg single-handedly drove the puck out of Detroit’s defensive zone towards center ice. In the middle of the Hockeytown logo at center, Z dumped the puck in wide to the left of Enroth who played it directly into the corner where Zetterberg already was. After making a quick spin around the left face-off circle, Hank snapped the puck right in and past Enroth’s five-hole as the crowd went wild.

Henrik Zetterberg’s hat trick that January evening will go down as one of my most cherished live sports memories of all time. It was a roller coaster ride of a game that provided a lasting memory/moment for myself and every other person who was at The Joe that evening. To complete the awesome story, after the game I went to the Greektown Casino and played a slot machine called “Triple Threat” in honor of Hank’s hat trick, and I won $184 on my first pull.

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