There's a chance a New Year's Eve game was Jordan Eberle's last at the Cox Convention Center.
If it ends up being Eberle's final appearance in Oklahoma City, what a way to go out.
Eberle registered his second hat trick of the season in a 5-2 Barons win over the Texas Stars Monday night in front of 4,976 fans.
“We were kind of talking how this might be (our last game here) because negotiations are going,” Eberle said. “But you have no idea what's going to happen. I'm just focusing on Houston tomorrow and see what happens.”
Eberle is playing with the Barons during the NHL lockout. Oklahoma City begins a four-game road trip on Tuesday. The Barons don't return home until Jan. 11, the pseudo deadline NHL owners have set to salvage the 2012-13 season.
During the 106-day lockout, Eberle has shown why he was an NHL All-Star last season. He scored his 21st, 22nd and 23rd goals and added an assist in Monday's win to take over the AHL scoring lead from teammate Justin Schultz.
All three Eberle goals were scored within a four-minute span late in the first period to help the Barons roll to their fourth consecutive win.
Set up by a beautiful pass from Taylor Hall, Eberle deked Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp to give OKC a 1-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first period. Nine seconds later Eberle lit the lamp again with a top-shelf wrist shot. He scored a power-play goal with 1:33 left in the period.
“He's fun to watch,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He scored three different ways tonight. The power play goal was an incredible goal. He caught the pass in tight to his feet, toe dragged the guy and beat the goalie with his backhand. That's a high skill level. Not too many guys are able to do that.”
Eberle isn't the only young Edmonton Oiler star playing in OKC during the lockout.
Schultz, a rookie defenseman, scored his 17th goal and added an assist. Schultz is second in the AHL in scoring (45 points) behind Eberle (47).
Hall, who had a hat trick last week and has played on a line with Eberle the past two years in Edmonton, added three assists.
Even after former No. 1 pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left to join Team Canada at the world junior tournament, the No. 1 line has been highly productive with Mark Arcobello replacing Nugent-Hopkins.
“We get a lot of chances,” Hall said. “We're here to produce points. Right now we've found a groove and are playing some teams that are giving us a couple of things on the power play. Arcobello has come in and been a real plus. He's allowed me and Ebs to play our game.”
The Oilers young stars repeatedly have said it's been a blessing to be able to play in OKC during the lockout.
“There's a good chance during this road trip that we're called to come back to OKC, get our stuff and report to Edmonton,” Hall said. “We're trying to put that in the back of our heads. For sure this was a night to remember. It was New Year's Eve. The crowd was great.
“We've had a really good time here. It wasn't the ideal situation. We'd rather be in Edmonton. But the people of Oklahoma City and our teammates here really gave us a chance to fit in.”