Islanders C Mathew Barzal notched his first career multi-goal game Saturday night against the Jets, but he didn't just stop at two.
Barzal recorded his first career hat trick in the Islanders' 5-2 win at Barclays Center, and the 20-year-old admitted it was a cool experience.
"It's pretty cool," Barzal told The Post's Greg Joyce. "It was still a pretty tight game so I wasn't going to cheat for any offense. I just wanted to play hard. That's kind of how it works sometimes, you start cheating a bit and thinking about [a hat trick] and then it doesn't really come. If you just stick to the game plan, the puck kind of bounces your way."
With the hat trick, Barzal became the youngest Islanders player since teammate John Tavares accomplish the feat. Head coach Doug Weight can't help but to love the play he has seen from the rookie so far this season.
"We know how [Barzal] skates and controls the play, but he's got composure at a young age," coach Weight said. "He's got a lot of confidence right now. It's fun to watch."
Many believe Barzal is a frontrunner for the Frank Calder Trophy -- the NHL's Rookie of the Year award. But even with 35 points on the season already (12 goals, 23 assists), Barzal himself doesn't think he's exceeding expectations this season.
"I don't know if I've exceeded [my expectations]," Barzal said. "I've been given a great opportunity by the staff and lots of ice time and power play and playing with two good linemates. So no, I don't think it's a surprise."