Alex DeBrincat scores first career hat trick against Anaheim

It’s a Cat Trick!

Remember the calls for Alex DeBrincat to be sent down to the AHL after a slow start to his NHL career?

Good times.

DeBrincat continues to play at a level well beyond his years (he’s still a teenager, folks), notching a hat trick in the first two periods of the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night game against the Anaheim Ducks.

It was an All-American combination on the first goal, as Nick Schmaltz fired a pass from behind the net and through a trio of Anaheim defenders. DeBrincat was waiting in the slot and fired the puck past Ducks goalie John Gibson, who had no idea the pass had made it through.

DeBrincat showed a nose for the net on his second one. Ryan Hartman took in a great pass from Patrick Sharp and fired a shot at Ryan Miller, who’d just replaced Gibson in net. Miller kicked the rebound into the slot, and there was DeBrincat, who got just enough of the puck to guide it into a gaping net.

The third goal started with an excellent stop of an Anaheim odd-man rush by Duncan Keith while the Hawks were on the power play. After breaking up that scoring chance, Keith quickly got the puck ahead to Patrick Kane, who recognized his partner on the developing two-on-one was sitting on a pair of goals already. Kane found the perfect angle, and all DeBrincat had to do was put his stick on the ice to redirect Kane’s pass into the net.

DeBrincat also had an assist on Sharp’s first-period tally, giving the 19-year-old four points through the first two periods of Chicago’s hot start against the Ducks.

He entered tonight’s game with seven goals and six assists, with that goal tally tied for second among NHL rookies. He’s now one goal behind Arizona’s Clayton Keller and Vancouver’s Brock Boeser, while jumping ahead to sixth place with 17 points on the season — and another period to play.

In the last seven games, he has seven goals and three assists. Hot streaks like his current one will move him up the rookie point leaderboard, but it’s performances like this one that will make DeBrincat register on the radars of Calder Trophy voters.