Avalanche Throwback Thursday: First Hat Trick in Avalanche History


Avalanche Throwback Thursday: First Hat Trick in Avalanche History

There have been a number of great players to wear an Avalanche jersey since they moved to Colorado in 1995. Claude Lemieux is one of them. Best known for his ability to get under the skin of opponents, Lemieux was also a talented offensive player in his prime. He showed off that offensive talent on November 28, 1995 when he recorded the first hat trick in Avalanche history.

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The game was nothing to remember, a 7-3 Avalanche route against an overmatched New York Islanders team, but Lemieux’s hat trick will forever be in the Avalanche record books.

Lemieux opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the game, putting a one-timer past goalie Jamie McLennan off an assist from Peter Forsberg. Less than three minutes later, Lemieux scored his second goal of the game, once again on an assist from Forsberg. Claude finished off the hat trick in the first period, scoring a power play goal and chasing McLennan from the game.

It was Lemieux’s fifth career hat trick and his first as a member of the Avalanche, but not his last. In the 1995-1996 season the Avs had a franchise record six hat tricks. Lemieux, Forsberg, and Valeri Kamensky each had two. Not so coincidently, those three were often on a line together.

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While Lemieux will be best remembered by Avs fans for his brawls with the Detroit Red Wings, his hat trick against the Islanders ensures his place in the Avalanche history books.

Unfortunately there’s no video of Lemieux’s hat trick on YouTube, so you’ll just have to take my word that it happened. Instead, here’s highlights from Game Six of the 1996 Western Conference Finals between the Avs and Detroit Red Wings, which includes Lemieux’s infamous hit on Kris Draper.

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Next: TBT: Avs vs. Red Wings Brawl

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