Patrick Kane has accomplished a lot in his NHL career, but on Friday night he did something that he’s never done before as he registered his first career regular season hat trick.
Those three goals helped propel the Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, giving them a 10-game winning streak and vaulted them, at least temporarily, into first place in the Central Division.
Artemi Panarin also scored a goal for the Blackhawks in the game, and Scott Darling stopped 28 shots as he backstopped the Blackhawks to yet another victory.
The Blackhawks’ offense got off to a sluggish start as they shook off the cobwebs after Thursday’s win, but when they finally got going, it appeared that they scored first yet again. Andrew Shaw got credit originally for the goal, but after careful video review it was ruled that Marian Hossa entered the zone offside, and the tally was waved off.
In the second period, the Blackhawks scored again, and this time it remained on the scoreboard. Just as a power play expired, four Blackhawks players crashed the front of the net, and eventually Duncan Keith found Kane with a pass, giving the sniper an easy chip shot goal to put Chicago in front 1-0.
Later in the period, Matt Hunwick gave Kane a quick cross-check to the mouth, but on the ensuing power play, Kane got his revenge. On a cross-ice feed from Artemi Panarin, Kane ripped home a one-timer from the top of the face-off circle to beat James Reimer and give the Blackhawks a 2-0 edge.
In the early stages of the third period, the Blackhawks got another power play, and once again Kane figured prominently in a goal that gave the team a critical insurance tally. Panarin was the beneficiary of a lightning-quick pass across the ice, using a quick wrist shot to beat Reimer easily and to extend the Hawks’ lead to three goals.
The Maple Leafs weren’t quite done however, and they eventually scored to make the score more respectable. On the rush, Morgan Rielly skated into the zone with speed, and as Darling came out of his crease, the forward was able to lift a shot over the goaltender’s blocker and just underneath the crossbar to put Toronto on the board at 3-1.
Late in the game, Darling was forced to make a slew of athletic saves to keep the Hawks in front, and his team eventually took some of the pressure off by adding an empty net goal. Once again it was Kane doing the honors, skating the puck down the ice and depositing it into the back of the cage for his first career regular season hat trick and Chicago’s 10th straight win.
The Blackhawks will go for their 11th straight win when they return to home ice on Sunday night to take on the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.