All-Time Leaders in Stanley Cup Playoff Hat Tricks

Dino Ciccarelli, Hockey History, Jari Kurri, Maurice Richard, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky

Last Wednesday night (May 4, 2022), Kirill Kaprizov registered his first career postseason hat trick in the Minnesota Wild’s 6-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their first-round series. Two days later, Evander Kane got his first playoff hat trick to help propel the Edmonton Oilers past the Los Angeles Kings, 8-2, and take a 2-1 series lead.

Kaprizov and Kane became the 225th and 226th players, respectively, to score at least three goals in a Stanley Cup Playoff game. 31 of those 226 have scored at least four goals in a single playoff games, and five have achieved a five-goal game during the postseason.

The two newest additions to the playoff hat trick club still have a ways to go if they want to join the players atop the list of most career postseason hat tricks. In Friday’s Morning Skate (which you should definitely be subscribed to), I took a brief look at the three players with the most career postseason hat tricks. Here is a more in-depth look at the five players with the most career playoff hat tricks in NHL history.

Mike Bossy, 5

Bossy, who recently passed away, checks in at number five on this list. The New York Islanders legend appeared in 129 postseason games between 1978-1987, finding the back of the net 85 times. Those 85 playoff goals are the sixth-most in NHL history, and the five players ahead of him all played at least 200 postseason games. Bossy’s first playoff hat trick came on April 16, 1979. The 22-year-old tallied three goals and an assist in a 6-2 Game 1 win over Chicago.

Mike Bossy 50 Goals
Mike Bossy, 1982. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

The Islanders ended up falling in six games to the Rangers in the 1979 semifinal round. 1982 brought Bossy’s next playoff hat trick, a three-goal effort in a 6-5 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Islanders went on to sweep Vancouver for the title.

The 26-year-old Bossy had the postseason of his life in 1983. In Game 4 of New York’s first-round series against Washington, he scored three goals to help lead the Islanders to a 6-3 win and eliminate the Capitals. In Game 4 of the conference finals against Boston, Bossy matched the Bruins’ goal total in an 8-3 win, then matched their goal total again in an 8-4 Game 6 win that clinched the series. The Islanders would go on to sweep the mighty Oilers (who were led by the top two players on this list) to win the Stanley Cup.

Dino Ciccarelli, 6

Ciccarelli’s career, which spanned the 1980s and 90s, didn’t include a Stanley Cup title, but it still featured plenty of postseason success. He scored 73 goals in 141 career playoff games, which included 34 power-play goals, fourth-most all-time. His first postseason hat trick came in 1981, his first year in the NHL. On May 5, The 21-year-old scored three goals to help lead the Minnesota North Stars to a 7-4 win over Calgary in Game 4 of the semifinal round.

The North Stars made it to the Stanley Cup Final that year, where they fell to the Islanders in five games. The next year, Ciccarelli scored three goals and added an assist in a 7-1 first-round win over Chicago. It was the only win of the series for the North Stars, who lost three games to one.

Dino Ciccarelli Red Wings
Dino Ciccarelli, 1996 (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)

The majority of Ciccarelli’s playoff hat tricks occurred after the turn of the decade, when he was no longer in Minnesota. In 1990, he had three goals and an assist, scoring in overtime to lead the Washington Capitals past the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of their first-round series. The Capitals ended up being swept by the Bruins in the conference finals, a series Ciccarelli did not play in.

In 1992, Ciccarelli scored four goals for the Capitals in a 7-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, helping them take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series. Washington went on to lose the next three games and the series. He came back the next year as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, scoring three goals in a 7-3 win over Toronto to force a Game 7. But Ciccarelli’s team once again fell short of advancing past the first round.

In 1995, the 35-year-old Ciccarelli put up his final postseason hat trick, scoring three goals in a 5-1 Red Wings first-round win over the Dallas Stars. Detroit took a 3-0 series lead with that win and went on to take the series in five games. The Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup Final, where they were swept by the Devils.

Maurice Richard, 7

Richard, who played for the dominant Montreal Canadiens during the 1940s and ’50s, accomplished something nobody else on this list did. Along with having seven postseason hat tricks, which is tied for second-most all-time, Richard is one of five players in NHL history to score five goals in a single playoff game. That five-goal performance occurred on March 23, 1944. In his second career playoff game, the 22-year-old scored all of Montreal’s goals in a 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In the second round of that postseason, Richard once again scored all of his team’s goals, notching his second hat trick in a month to lead the Canadiens past Chicago, 3-1, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Montreal went on to sweep the Black Hawks. The next year, Richard victimized Toronto in the first round again, scoring four goals and adding an assist in a 10-3 Canadiens win. The Maple Leafs would get the last laugh against the defending champs, winning the series in six games.

Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens
Maurice Richard, 1950s (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Eight years passed before Richard’s third playoff hat trick. He scored three times during a 7-3 Canadiens win over the Bruins in Game 4 of the 1953 Stanley Cup Final, which Montreal would win in five games. His fourth postseason hat trick came three years later, as he scored three in a 7-1 win over the Rangers in the 1956 semifinal round. Once again, the Canadiens went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Richard had another four-goal performance during a 5-1 win over the Bruins in Game 1 of the 1957 Stanley Cup Final (a series Montreal won in six games). The 36-year-old registered his seventh and final postseason hat trick with three goals in a 4-3 win over the Red Wings that sent the Canadiens to the 1958 Stanley Cup Final, which, naturally, they would win against the Bruins in six games.

Richard retired in 1960, having spent his entire career with the Canadiens. He played in 132 total playoff games (since the league was much smaller, there were less postseason rounds) and won the Stanley Cup eight times. He scored 82 postseason goals, which ranks eighth all-time.

Jari Kurri, 7

Kurri’s career paralleled the greatest of all-time’s in many ways (more on that guy later). For starters, the two were teammates from 1980-88 in Edmonton and 1991-96 in Los Angeles. They were also both prolific playoff scorers. In 200 career postseason games, Kurri’s 106 goals and 233 points rank third all-time. He secured his first playoff hat trick on April 4, 1984, scoring three goals and adding an assist in a 9-2 win over Winnipeg.

Kurri’s second postseason hat trick mirrored his first, as he scored three goals and added an assist on April 25, 1985, in an 8-3 series-clinching win over Winnipeg. The 1985 playoffs would turn out to be his best, specifically the conference finals, as the 25-year-old had three hat tricks during the six-game series against the Chicago Black Hawks (now Blackhawks).

Jari Kurri #17 of the Edmonton Oilers
Jari Kurri, 1989 (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Two games after his first hat trick of the 1985 postseason, Kurri scored three goals in a 7-3 win over Chicago, helping Edmonton take a 2-0 lead in the series. After being kept off the scoreboard the next two games (both losses), Kurri responded with three goals and two assists in a 10-5 Game 5 victory. Two days later, he scored four goals as the Oilers eliminated the Black Hawks with an 8-2 win.

Kurri’s next playoff hat trick was another four-goal performance, this time with an assist added in, as the Oilers blitzed the Kings, 10-3, in 1987. His seventh and final postseason hat trick came in 1990, his final year in Edmonton. On his 30th birthday, Kurri scored three goals and chipped in two assists in a 7-2 win over the Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup in every year in which Kurri logged a playoff hat trick.

Wayne Gretzky, 10

Naturally, “The Great One” sits atop this list, as he does most all-time lists related to goal-scoring. In 208 career postseason games, Gretzky is also the all-time leader in goals (122), assists (260), and points (382). His first career playoff hat trick came in 1981, his second year in the NHL. On April 11, the 20-year-old scored three goals and added an assist as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Montreal Canadiens, 6-2, to complete a three-game sweep.

Gretzky’s second playoff hat trick came eight days later. With the Oilers down two games to none against the New York Islanders, he once again outscored the opponent by himself, finding the back of net three times in a 5-2 Edmonton win. The Oilers would go on to lose that second-round series in six games.

Wayne Gretzky #99 of the Edmonton Oilers
Wayne Gretzky, 1982 (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

In 1983, Gretzky turned it up a notch. During Game 1 of Edmonton’s first-round series against the Winnipeg Jets, he scored four times and added an assist in a 6-3 win. In Game 3 of the second round, he scored four more goals and added three assists in a 10-2 thrashing of the Calgary Flames. The Oilers ultimately made it to the Stanley Cup Final, where they once again fell to the Islanders, who swept them to win a fourth straight title.

Edmonton’s reign would start a year later, as the Oilers won five of the next seven Stanley Cups. During their 1985 Cup run, Gretzky had two hat tricks. One was another three-goal, four-assist performance in an 8-3 win over the Jets that clinched a second-round sweep, and the other was in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, when he scored three goals and threw in an assist in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Oilers went on to win the series in five games.

Gretzky notched another hat trick the next postseason against the Flames, in a second-round series the Oilers would lose in seven games. Although he ended up winning two more Stanley Cup titles with the Oilers, that would be Gretzky’s final postseason hat trick in an Edmonton sweater. His next one came in 1993, when he was with the Los Angeles Kings. He tallied three goals and an assist to lead the Kings past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-4, in Game 7 of the conference finals. L.A. went on to lose in five games to the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.

Gretzky’s final two playoff hat tricks came in 1997, the last year he made it to the postseason (he retired in 1999). As a member of the New York Rangers, he had a three-goal game in the first round against the Florida Panthers and registered his tenth and final playoff hat trick on May 18, 1997, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers won that game, 5-4, but lost the series in five games.

It’s hard enough to score in the NHL. It’s even harder to score a hat trick. Doing that in the playoffs is a rare feat, and doing it multiple times puts someone in historic company. It should come as no surprise that everyone on the above list is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. People needed to have their hats ready when these guys were in the playoffs.

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