Kopitar hat trick keeps Kings playoff hopes alive

The Los Angeles Kings can thank center Anze Kopitar for keeping their playoff hopes alive as the 23-year-old center scored only the second hat trick of his young career in a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. To clinch the hat trick, Kopitar corralled a loose puck at center ice as he stepped out of the penalty box for a clear-cut breakaway and beat goaltender Steve Mason with a head fake and nifty back-and-forth deke to slide the puck into a wide open net. Kopitar can thank Dustin Brown for a heads-up play by lofting the puck to center ice for Kopitar to get. Check out the video of the move below:

More importantly than Kopitar’s hat trick, the Kings got two much-needed points to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Kings currently sit 6th overall in the Western Conference, but they are in a four-way tie for the last four playoff seeds with Chicago, Phoenix and Calgary at 81 total points a piece. The Western Conference is still anybody’s game as seeds four through 11 are only separated by five points and the ninth-seeded Anaheim Ducks are only two points away from being included in that mess.

Kopitar currently leads the Kings in both goals (24) and assists (45) and his three points last night pushed him into 7th in the league in total points scored.

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