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Schneider pulls off rarity

Mathieu Schneider shot his way into rare company.

The longtime defenseman scored three goals Wednesday in the Detroit Red Wings’ 9-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes, posting his second career hat trick. That in itself is news enough, as he and Sandis Ozolinsh of the New York Rangers are the only active defensemen with two career tricks.

But the 37-year-old Schneider – in his 18th NHL season – originally made his mark in hat trick lore last season when he scored three goals on Nov. 26, 2005.

At 36, he became the oldest defenseman to pull off the feat.

In addition to Ozolinsh and Schneider, only nine other current NHL defensemen own hat tricks.

On the flipside, the Pittsburgh Penguins got goals on Thursday night in New York from 18-year-old Jordan Staal, as well as Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang – both 19. For Staal and Letang, it was their first NHL goals.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that marked the first time three teenagers scored in a game since Florida’s Radek Dvorak and Ed Jovanovski and Hartford’s Jeff O’Neill did it on Dec. 2, 1995.

You have to go back 24 years to find three teenage teammates to pull off the feat.