When Kris Letang scored two first-period goals in last night's 6-2 win over the New York Islanders at PPG Paints Arena, he had a good chance to become just the fourth Penguins defenseman to ever notch a hat trick.
He didn’t. Not for lack of trying. Letang had six shots on goal.
Ron Stackhouse (boo!) netted a hat trick on 3.18.79. Paul Coffey got his on 1.20.88.
But the first Penguins defenseman to score three times in one game was Duane Rupp, a Pittsburgh resident ever since playing for the Pens from 1969-73. Rupp got his hatty on 3.24.71 in an 8-2 home victory over Detroit.
The Detroit goaltender was current Penguins GM Jim Rutherford. The Penguins then got Rutherford from the Red Wings in the subsequent off-season.
Rupp had just 24 goals in 374 NHL games. When he showed up at training camp after the Pens acquired Rutherford, Rupp went into the office of GM/coach Red Kelly and said, “Thanks a lot, Red! You went and got the only guy I can score on!"