And thanks to a big game from rookie Alex DeBrincat, they got it.
The Detroit area native scored the second hat trick of his career, leading the Hawks to a 5-1 victory over the Wings, the team DeBrincat followed as a fan while growing up in Farmington Hills, just outside of Detroit.
It was a four-point night for DeBrincat, who appears to have found some chemistry along with Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Toews. That trio was responsible for a pair of goals in a 2:24 span of the first period that gave Chicago an early lead. DeBrincat scored first, corralling a loose puck, firing it towards the net and benefiting from a deflection. Duclair got his first tally in a Hawks sweater off of a beautiful faceoff play. Vinnie Hinostroza later converted on an odd-man rush to put Chicago up 3-0.
The Hawks never looked back. DeBrincat added a second goal off a sweet pass from Toews in the second period.
After Detroit spoiled Anton Forsberg’s shutout bid late in the third, DeBrincat completed the hat trick by finding an empty net with 19 seconds left in the game.
CHI Goals: DeBrincat 3 (17), Duclair (10), Hinostroza (4)
DET Goal: Mantha (16)
The DeBrincat-Toews-Duclair line is something
This was the second game together for this grouping, and it shouldn’t be the last. After a strong but scoreless performance against Toronto on Wednesday, this trio single-handedly took care of the Wings on Thursday night. DeBrincat had four points, Duclair had three, Toews had the primary assist on the aforementioned second DeBrincat goal, and all three were a plus-four. More of that, please.
Connor Murphy’s numbers
A 60% share of Corsi events while on the ice at 5-on-5 (best among Chicago defensemen) and a 7-3 advantage in high-danger chances while he was on the ice. In the month of January, Murphy has been on the ice for TWO goals against while playing about 120 minutes of even-strength ice time in the nine games he’s skated in 2018. Someone put these stats on a mallet and pound it into Mike Milbury’s head for me. Thanks.
Scoreboard watching time!
Thursday night went quite well for the Hawks, in terms of the playoff chase. The three Central Division teams directly above Chicago in the standings (Dallas, Colorado and Minnesota) all lost. Los Angeles was idle, and Anaheim was tied at two as of the publishing of this article. Ground was gained this evening. Much more will need to be acquired before we can feel better about a playoff berth. But it’s a start.
1. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 3 goals, 1 assist
2. Anthony Duclair (CHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists
3. Anton Forsberg (CHI) — 23 saves