Richard Panik recorded his first career hat trick as the Chicago Blackhawks rolled to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
Panik is off to a stellar start this season. He’s got four goals and one assist through three games this season, putting him atop the Hawks’ scoring leaderboard. The 25-year-old is showing that he can make some pretty skilled plays, including this incredible backhand goal in the second period.
Nick Schmaltz kicked the game off with a goal just over six minutes into the opening frame, recording his first career NHL goal. Fellow rookie Tyler Motte added the assist on the goal, showing the new kids are here to play.
After allowing six power play goals in their first two games this season, the Hawks turned the tables with a power play goal from Brent Seabrook in the first to pull the Hawks ahead by two.
Panik began his sensational play at the halfway mark of the first, tallying his first goal of the game.
Despite Chicago’s 3-0 lead, Nashville was not going down without a fight, causing Scott Darling to stand on his head for the majority of the game. The Hawks were outshot, 16-8, in the first, but Darling allowed Chicago to hold their lead with great work in the paint.
If it weren’t for Panik’s miraculous performance, Darling would’ve been the one to get the No. 1 star. He saved 33 of 36 shots overall and 29 of 31 shots at 5-on-5.
Confusion struck with a power play goal in the third, as it was initially announced over the broadcast that Hossa had finally scored number 500. The celebration was cut short, however, as Panik was credited with his second of the night. Don’t worry Hoss, your time will come.
A goal late in the third for Panik gave him his first career hat trick, likely something none of us predicted to happen tonight. But hey the Hawks got their first win so I’m definitely not complaining.
The Hawks will host the Flyers on Tuesday at the United Center at 7:30 p.m. CT.