Matt Puempel, he of 23 years and 63 NHL games, had scored six career goals. All of them came at even strength.
In his 64th game, he scored his first powerplay goal. And his second. And then his third for good measure, as he also scored his first career hat trick (and first career multi-goal game, for that matter).
So, it was quite the night of firsts for Puempel. And while not the first, he’s only the third Ranger ever - in just his 12th career game for them - to score a powerplay hat trick since the NHL expanded. Via the Elias Sports Bureau:
The two other players to do that were Mark Messier (March 22, 1992 vs. New Jersey) and Mike Gartner (Jan. 31, 1994 vs. Pittsburgh), who between them scored over 1400 goals in the NHL (and nearly 400 power play goals).
That’s some pretty intense company to be in! Puempel may never get that high - most players never will - but it’s pretty cool that he did something that this franchise hasn’t seen in over 20 years.
Oh, and that it helped the Rangers win, too. That part was definitely the best.