The NHL has gotten creative as it resumes the 2019–20 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the league certainly embraced the strange circumstances on Monday night as the Oilers faced the Blackhawks.
Oilers star Connor McDavid secured a hat trick late in the second period on Monday night in Edmonton's 6–3 Game 2 win to even the series against the Blackhawks. A hat trick in any other season would result in a frenzied crowd and plenty of caps on the ice. But with no spectators in the stands at Rogers Place—Edmonton's home arena—employees helped liven the mood for the forward's first postseason hat trick.
McDavid didn't really see the need to celebrate, telling reporters after the win, "I thought it was unnecessary. Just drop the puck and let’s get going.”
The conditions surrounding McDavid's goal were odd, though the 23-year-old is no stranger to finding the back of the net. McDavid led the NHL in points in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and he's tallied 30-plus goals in four straight seasons. The three-time All-Star has emerged as one of the sport's best goal scorers since being taken No. 1 overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
McDavid wasn't the only young star to unleash three goals Monday. Andrei Svechnikov came up big with a hat trick of his own in the Hurricanes' 4–1 win over the Rangers earlier in the afternoon, giving Carolina a 2–0 series lead.
McDavid and the Oilers finished the regular season No. 5 in the Western Conference with 83 points. They lost their first qualifying game to Chicago on Saturday as they look to fend off elimination in a best-of-five series.