OTTAWA – 22-year-old Ottawa Senator forward Josh Norris scored his first career hat-trick because of the opposition.
Norris, a Michigan native who cheered for the Detroit Red Wings, scored three goals 5-2 against the visiting Wings on Sunday.
“Definitely something extra special,” Norris said.
Ottawa made a weekend home-and-home sweep against Detroit.
Norris, who scored in Friday’s 5-2 win over Detroit, reached his 30-goal mark this season with his empty-net goal on Sunday.
“I try to play my best every night and let the results take care of themselves,” Norris said. “It’s been a long year and a lot of ups and downs, so I try not to go too far ahead of myself and just stay in the moment and do my best.
“You definitely can’t reach 30 without some great teammates and linemates.”
Norris admits he probably hasn’t scored a hat-trick since Urine Way Hockey.
“I’ve never been to junior, college or anything. It feels good,” he said.
His linemate Matthew Joseph, who collected his hat-trick in Detroit on Friday, had three assists on Sunday as he moved into the top line with Norris and captain Brady Takachuk.
Joseph has three goals and five assists in six games with Ottawa since taking over the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The senators paid tribute to the late owner Eugene Melnick before the game. Melanick, 62, died last Monday after a long illness.
A video montage of Melnick has been included since the senators bought it in 2003. Players will wear a commemorative patch with the initials “EM” on their jerseys for the rest of the season.
“I think winning that game was special for us,” said Senators coach DJ Smith. “Just honoring him and being able to leave the building a winner, his night, I think special.”
Norris, who is in the final year of his contract with Ottawa, is the first senator in a decade to reach the 30-goal mark. Tkachuk is expecting a big salary for Norris.
“She’s hot now,” Tkachuk said. “Every time he touches Pak, he gets a chance to go inside. He’s so excited, so great.”
“He’s playing great for us now, so it’s definitely exciting. Every time he enters, Cha-ching, so a little more cash is coming his way.”
Artem Zub and Nikita Zaitsev, with an empty-net goal, also scored for the senators (25-37-6), where Anton Forsberg made a great out with 30 saves.
Michael Rasmussen and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings (26-34-9), who are stuck in a six-match losing streak. Thomas Greece stopped 31 shots.
The losing streak was heavy on the Detroit lineup.
Detroit head coach Jeff Blaschill said: “There is no doubt that we are now mentally defeated. “Now, that’s not an excuse. We have to fix it, but that’s the reality and we have to get out of it.”
Larkin, trailing 3-1, gave the Red Wings some life with a beautiful goal from his backhand with just seven minutes left.
But in the last minute of the game, Detroit failed to take advantage of several good chances during the power play.
“We didn’t make enough again,” Larkin said. “We couldn’t make their goalkeeper tough enough. But we’re right there.”
Norris scored twice in the second half as the senators took a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. His first team scored a power-play goal in Stuttgart. Norris defeated the Greek blocker side from the left faceoff circle at 2:32.
Norris’ 15th power-play goal this season made him the first to reach this mark since Danny Hitley in 2008-09.
Nick Holden jumped from the slot to the rebound and scored his second goal at 14:16.
Tyler Enis left the game early in the second half and did not return from injury to Gustav Lindstrom.
After the game, it was announced that Ennis was probably done for the season.
Detroit started scoring at 7:21 in opening time when Rasmussen slipped on Stuttgal’s foot and beat the Forsberg blocker side.
With less than two minutes left in the first period, Zub beat Greece 1-1 to tie the game.
Note: Anis played in her 700th NHL game. . . The Red Wings were without Tyler Bertuji. She cannot go to Canada because she does not have the vaccine.