Detroit Red Wings: Sam Gagner delivers nostalgic throwback with hatty

Detroit Red Wings center Sam Gagner (89). Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Red Wings center Sam Gagner (89). Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Sam Gagner threw it back to 2012 on Thursday night.

On what was a busy night in the National Hockey League with some big wins and some unexpected results, maybe the strangest outcome took place in the Detroit Red Wings‘ big 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators, which saw them improve to 6-13-3 on the year in the Central Division.

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No, we aren’t talking about the fact that the Red Wings won a game of hockey, but rather that veteran center Sam Gagner decided to roll it back a few years by recording a hat trick as Detroit’s offense exploded on Thursday.

I bet you wasn’t expecting to read that sentence in 2021.

Well, here we are and Gagner was the star of the show for the Red Wings against the Predators, playing as if he was back at his peak and doing his bit to spark a struggling and sluggish offense, ranked 30th in the NHL (2.00), into life at just the right time.

Sam Gagner (89)
Detroit Red Wings center Sam Gagner (89). Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Sam Gagner throwing it back to his prime years with rare hat trick for Detroit Red Wings

With the game tied at 1-1, Gagner proved the old adage right that getting the puck on net can only lead to good things as he fired the puck past Pekka Rinne from a bad angle at 8:38 in the second period, before making it a 3-2 game at 9:58 in the third period after pulling off a nice spin move and unleashing a shot that trickled through the pads of Rinne.

Then, at 16:56 in the third, Gagner did a job of tracking the loose puck before getting across and firing it down ice and into the empty-net to seal a big, big 5-2 win for the Detroit Red Wings, who won twice in three games for the first time since the opening week of the season and it was also the first time all year that they had scored five goals in a single game.

It was the third hat trick of Gagner’s lengthy career and the first he had recorded since 2012, and it was an even remarkable feat considering that the No. 6 overall pick in the First Round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft entered the contest without a goal and just two assists in 13 games.

And, just to hammer home the point even more that what took place last night was just weird, Gagner scored just six goals total in 2019-20 and six goals in 2018-19, so he’s already halfway to matching both of those totals and we’re only a quarter of a way through the 2020-21 season.

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Plus, the 31-year-old last recorded double-digits in goals back in 2017-18 with 10 while with the Vancouver Canucks and, while he probably won’t go on a torrid scoring streak for the struggling Detroit Red Wings, it was still nice to see a real grinder in Sam Gagner enjoy his moment in the sun on Thursday night, even if it gave us some real 2012 vibes.