Mikhail Grabovski records first opening-night hat trick in Capitals history

October 2, 2013

Mikhail Grabovski celebrates with teammates after scoring his first goal as a Capital Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Mikhail Grabovski’s first goal as a Capital was a thing of beauty. It was a well-timed and perfectly placed shot that beat Corey Crawford low glove side and demonstrated his skill level.

Here’s the video of that first goal:

For his second and third tallies with his new team, Grabovski showed another side of his game by jumping into the fray at the top of the crease on a power play for two deft deflections on shots by Mike Green. They were nearly identical plays, but the first tip was so subtle it was difficult to pick up on the initial play and required the official scoresheet be changed.

“Just a little bit kind of lucky,” said Grabovski, who recorded an assist in addition to the hat trick. “Just right spot where I’m supposed to be, and great shot for Green.”

Here are Grabovski’s second and third goals.

Grabovski is the first player in Capitals history to record a hat trick on opening night, and it offered one heck of a regular season introduction for the team’s offseason pickup.

“I didn’t even know he could tip pucks like that. It was great hand-eye coordination,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “We created a lot of chances on those power plays and he found a way to capitalize.”

Grabovski will draw comparisons to now-Phoenix Coyotes pivot Mike Ribeiro, but they have completely different styles. Grabovski can dish the puck but is equally willing to be a shooter as well. Most notably, though, he doesn’t hesitate to go to the gritty areas of the ice and while he’s a passing option down low on the power play he can slid in front of the net and look to create opportunities.

“He’s a gritty guy, he sticks his nose in there,” Brooks Laich said. “He’s not a rough-and-tumble guy with the identity of Troy Brouwer, but he’s feisty and he’s scored a lot of goals around the net….He’s a tough player to defend against. Happy for him that he’s getting his offense going, and hope it continues.”

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Katie Carrera · October 2, 2013