The Winnipeg Jets had an offensive outburst of epic proportions on a Tuesday night in 2015 when they smoked the Florida Panthers 8-2. What is even more impressive was that centreman Mathieu Perreault had half of his team’s goals. The sixth-round pick in 2006 had the best game of his career and came within a goal of winning one lucky fan $1 million.
Perreault has been red-hot lately and with the four-goal output now has 25 points in his last 24 games. But since the 27-year-old has never tallied more than 43 points in a season, it is a little surprising that he would find the net four-times in one game. However, he is not the only one to do so as many players have achieved the feat and some even more obscure than Perreault.
Four-Goal Player: Jiri Dopita
Who? Exactly. Dopita was a fifth-round selection of the New York Islanders back in 1998. The Czech Republic native, was passed around the NHL many times before landing in Philadelphia. Dopita was sent by the Islanders to the Florida Panthers in 2000, who then traded him to the Flyers for a second round-pick.
Dopita got his first taste of the NHL in 2001-02 with the Flyers. And on January 9, 2002 in a 7-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers, Dopita tied a Flyers record by scoring four goals in a game. The milestone had been done previously 14 times with the franchise, but was impressive nonetheless. Prior to the four-goal game, Dopita had scored just two goals in his previous 25 games and he would not score many more after that.
Dopita went on to finish the year with 11 goals and 27 points in 52 games for the Flyers before being traded the following season to the Edmonton Oilers. He would play just 21 games with the team putting up just one goal and six points, before heading back to the Czech Republic. He never played again in the NHL, but still accomplished a feat not many can say they have.
Four-Goal Player: Jan Bulis
Bulis’ name might not resonate with too many people, but the centre from the Czech Republic, did play 552 games in the NHL, most recently with the Vancouver Canucks in 2006-07. Bulis was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1996 and during his fourth season was traded to the Montreal Canadiens alongside Richard Zednik and the Caps first-round pick for Trevor Linden and Dainus Zubrus.
Bulis’ four-goal performance came back on January 25, 2006 against the Flyers in a 5-3 win for the Canadiens. As with the two players above, the game was also the best of his career. The 2005-06 season turned out to be the best of his playing days, marking the only season he cracked the 20-goal mark. Bulis would finish the season with 20 goals and 40 points in 73 games.
After playing one final season with the Canucks, he would head to Russia to play in the KHL where he continues to play, now for Traktor Chelyabinsk. Bulis ended his NHL career with 96 goals and 245 points in 552 games.
Four-Goal Player: Sam Gagner
Sam Gagner is an interesting case because if you had said early on in his career that he would score four-goals in a game one day, it wouldn’t be that outrageous to think he could. Gagner was one, of many, first-round draft picks by the Edmonton Oilers, taken sixth overall in 2007. He was a stud in junior, putting up 118 points with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in 2006-07.
The 25-year-old is now in his eight season in the NHL and has never tallied more than 47 points in a season. Gagner completed his four goals back on February 3, 2012 in a 8-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. What makes Gagner’s feat so special is not only did he score four times, he also assisted on the other four goals, tying an Oilers record with eight points in one game.
Gagner was part of a three-team deal this off-season going to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Teddy Purcell before then being shipped to the Arizona Coyotes. He has just seven goals and 21 points in 41 games this season, just under half the amount of goals he scored one night in Edmonton.
Four-Goal Player: Tomas Hertl
Tomas Hertl’s four-goal game is interesting almost for the same reasons as Gagner. He is a very skilled player, but since the feat has not looked too impressive. Hertl is the San Jose Sharks’ first-round pick from 2012.
Hertl was unknown to much of the hockey world until a game on October 8, 2013 when the Sharks blew out the New York Rangers 9-2. Hertl scored four goals in the game and notched what was arguably the goal of the season when he broke in on goaltender Martin Biron in the third period and put his stick between his legs, lifting the puck over the blocking glove of the veteran netminder.
Hertl looked to be the early front-runner for the Calder Trophy last season, but an injury kept him out of the Shark’s lineup most of the year. The, then 19-year-old, finished the season with 15 goals and 25 points in 37 games. This year he has struggled mightily with just eight goals and 16 points in 44 games.
Hertl does have a lot of skill and could be an important piece to the Sharks in years to come, but he has dried up offensively of late and to consider he scored four goals in a game as a rookie, that’s just bizarre.
Four-Goal Players: Randy McKay and John Madden
The two of these players would likely make this list each on their own given neither were ever known as snipers by any means. But one October night back in 2000 that’s exactly what they looked to be.
In a game against their division rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 28, 2000, the New Jersey Devils put on a clinic, whipping the Pens 9-0. The score in itself was something to marvel, but what made headlines was the fact that both McKay and Madden each scored four goals in the game.
McKay finished his career with 162 goals and 363 points in 932 games while Madden had 165 goals and 348 points in 898 games. Neither were expected to lead the way offensively for their teams, in fact McKay was known mostly for dropping the gloves with his opponents. Both McKay and Madden finished their days in New Jersey with two Cup rings each, despite their physical demeanor.
Perreault’s feat was pretty impressive Tuesday night and though the four-goal mark isn’t completely unheard of, when someone hits it, it is special. Especially when someone very unexpected does it.
This article was originally published in January, 2015.