Anisimov hat trick carries Blackhawks past Rangers
CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov plans to do something with the puck commemorating his first career hat trick.
He is not exactly certain what that will entail.
“I don’t know, I’ll probably do some (stuff),” Anisimov said with wry grin. “Like, I’m going to put it on wall.”
For his sake, hopefully Anisimov grips a hammer as effectively as he does a hockey stick. He scored all three of his goals in the third period, and Chicago pulled away for a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at the United Center.
Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden and Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks. Chicago (9-8-2) scored five goals in the third period and improved to 5-4-1 at home.
Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes and Rick Nash scored for the Rangers. The defeat ended a six-game winning streak for New York (9-8-2), which lost for the first time since Oct. 28.
“We had a good scenario for us, 1-1 on the road against this team, giving us a chance to win,” Zibanejad said. “But we had too many mistakes and put ourselves in a little hole there. Disappointed to lose, obviously.”
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves to snap a three-game skid.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on 34 shots before Ondrej Pavelec replaced him in the third period. Pavelec made seven saves.
New York opened the scoring with 10:02 to go in the first period. From the front of the crease, Zibanejad chipped a shot past Crawford’s glove for his team-leading ninth goal and his first goal in the past six games.
Chicago evened the score at 1 in the final minute of the second period. A long-distance wrist shot by DeBrincat trickled through Lundqvist’s pads and slowly crossed the goal line.
The sequence caught the Rangers by surprise and seemed to spark the Blackhawks’ comeback bid.
“It was kind of a lucky one,” said DeBrincat, 19, who has seven goals in his first 19 NHL games. “Just a shot on net, trying to create something, and it happened to squeeze through. It gave us a lot of momentum there.
“I think ‘shoot the puck’ is kind of a lesson there. Good things can happen when you shoot the puck on net.”
In the opposite locker room, the goal had an effect on the Rangers during the second intermission.
“We were playing a good game, and that goal really changed our attitude in here, our energy level,” Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “For whatever reason, we weren’t as sharp there the first few minutes (of the third period), and they pounced on us. They made us pay.”
A takeaway along the boards by right winger Patrick Kane helped Chicago seize a 2-1 lead with 18:53 to go in the third period. Kane slipped a pass behind the net to Nick Schmaltz, who found Anisimov in front of the crease for the chip-in goal.
Forty-six seconds later, Chicago scored again to make it 3-1. Hayden chased down a rebound and punched a shot into the back of the net as he fell to his stomach.
Chicago increased its lead to 4-1 with Anisimov’s power-play goal in front of the crease with 14:46 left. The goal prompted the Rangers’ change at goaltender.
Anisimov said it was no coincidence that his first two goals came on hard-nosed plays in front of the net.
“It’s good second efforts,” Anisimov said. “The second goal, Schmaltz and ‘Kaner’ have a puck there, and I just come to the net and find the puck. You need second efforts, (it) is the most important thing right now.”
The Rangers pulled within 4-2 with 12:52 remaining when Kevin Hayes scored from the right side of the crease. The deficit narrowed to one goal less than five minutes later when Nash won a footrace and scored on a backhand.
Anisimov finished his hat trick on a two-on-one break with 3:48 to go. Fans littered the ice with hats as Anisimov celebrated his third goal of the game and his ninth of the season.
Toews finished the scoring on an empty-net goal with 1:30 remaining.
NOTES: Blackhawks RW Ryan Hartman and C Tommy Wingels returned to action after each sat out the previous game as a healthy scratch. They took the spots of C Tanner Kero and D Jordan Oesterle, who watched the game in shirts and ties. ... Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk’s point streak ended at seven games. ... Blackhawks C Nick Schmaltz notched three assists, which improved his season total to 10 points (three goals). ... Rangers C Paul Carey and D Brendan Smith were healthy scratches. ... Rangers C Boo Nieves won 8 of 9 faceoff attempts.