Tomas Kopecky's Hat Trick Surprises Florida Panthers

By Andy Schmidt
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Tomas Kopecky has bounced around the National Hockey League a little bit during his eight years in the league. Kopecky also hasn’t been known as a huge goal-scorer either, so when he put up his first career hat trick on Tuesday night, everyone had to take notice. He now leads the Florida Panthers with eight goals on the year and has never scored more than 15 in a single season. This looks to be the season where he breaks his career high in goals if he can keep up his current pace.

Kopecky is currently on pace to score 20 goals this year and with the Panthers having their struggles in scoring this season, he is likely going to need to score that many goals for the team to have any playoff chances. The Panthers are just three points out of first place in the Southeast Division, though they have a 6-9-4 record going into their next game. Tuesday’s game must have been something else for him to have happen because I’m sure he didn’t think that the chips would fall that way.

Florida is going to need their goaltenders to play a lot better the rest of the season for the team to repeat as division champions. With the team in dead last place in the NHL in giving up goals, the newly discovered scoring punch from Kopecky has been a revelation. The team has a stretch of five straight games in the division coming up to start March, which will become the make or break point for the team.

Kopecky may need to score another few hat tricks for this Florida team to be successful during that stretch.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.

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