Nikita Kucherov scores natural hat trick with three identical goals

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times in the exact same fashion, well, that’s more shame than even Cersei Lannister can handle.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov scored a natural hat trick — three consecutive goals in a game without anyone else on either team scoring — during the second period of Monday’s game against the Senators in Tampa, but really it’s how he did it that’s so impressive. All three goals came on the power play, and on all three Kucherov blasted a one-timer from the face-off circle to the left of the goaltender.

Just look at how similar they all were.

You would think that the Sens would eventually catch on and make sure to mark that guy while on the penalty kill. Then again, Alex Ovechkin has cashed checks from that spot (to the goaltender’s right) for over a decade.

That’s not to take away from Kucherov’s execution, either. It’s one thing to continue to be open for the opportunities, but it’s another to finish them as effectively as the 23-year-old Kucherov did on Monday night.

The hat trick pushed Kucherov to 26 goals on the year and helped power Tampa Bay to a 5-1 win over Ottawa.