Patrick Sharp got the Hawks on the scoreboard first, notching his first goal in 17 games with a one-timer that bounced in off the head of Anaheim goaltender John Gibson. Alex DeBrincat — who was on his way to a memorable night —- and Brandon Saad added first-period goals to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Artem Anisimov kept the rally going with a power play goal to put Chicago up 4-0 early in the second period. DeBrincat took over from there, adding his second and third goals of the night for the first hat trick of his career, becoming the second youngest player in Blackhawks’ history to notch a hat trick.
It was a 6-2 lead by the end of the second period, and Patrick Kane added his third assist by setting up Nick Schmaltz for a third-period tap-in, providing the extra point in Chicago’s 7-3 dismantling of Anaheim. To the thoughts!
ANA GOALS: Silfverberg (6), Wagner 2 (4)
CHI GOALS: Sharp (3), DeBrincat 3 (10), Anisimov (11), Saad (9), Schmaltz (4)
Back in 2014, the Los Angeles Kings had a line that ripped through the playoffs on the way to a Stanley Cup. It featured Jeff Carter flanked by two rookies: Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli. Since that year, I’ve been waiting for a Hawks rookie (or two!) who could make that type of impact in a postseason, when it’s needed most. I still have hopes that Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman could do it, but those two are now behind DeBrincat on that list. I saw a lot of dismissals of DeBrincat’s 127-point season with the OHL’s Erie Otters, his third straight 100-point season (only the eighth player in the modern era to do so). There were plenty of assertions that his lack of size would doom him in the NHL. And all DeBrincat has done this year is what he’s always done: find a soft spot in the opponent’s coverage and put the puck in the net. This kid belongs in the NHL. His hockey IQ is off the charts, and more than makes up for his small frame. He knows where to go to be a scoring threat. That’s something that cannot be taught. I could probably write another 1,000 words about DeBrincat, so let’s just stop there.
Don’t apologize for the opponent
That’s two games in a row now that the Blackhawks have beaten struggling teams. But they’ve played down to their opponents in plenty of games this season. Credit the Hawks for building an early lead and maintaining it throughout the night. Good teams beat bad/struggling teams by comfortable margins. They did that on Saturday against the Florida Panthers and they did it again on Monday night against Anaheim.
The difficulty ramps up significantly starting on Tuesday night
As we’ve mentioned plenty of times on this here website, the Hawks have a ton of games this week. They got the job done in their last two outings, earning all four possible points against Florida and Anaheim. The two points will be much more difficult to attain over the rest of the week. Up first is a road game in the raucous atmosphere that is the Nashville Predators’ home rink. Chicago will also be on the tail-end of a back-to-back, while Nashville had Monday off. After that it’s a home-and-home with the Dallas Stars on Thursday and Saturday, followed by a Sunday meeting with the Los Angeles Kings. Two points tonight ahead of that brutal stretch was key.
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — First career hat trick, 1 assist
- Nick Schmaltz (CHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 3 assists