February 28, 2020 / 3:03 AM / a month ago

Kubalik hat trick pushes Blackhawks past Lightning

Chicago rookie Dominic Kubalik netted his first career hat trick, and the Blackhawks scored five times in the third period to rally to a 5-2 win over the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Feb 27, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Down 2-0 in the third period, Chicago grabbed its first lead when defenseman Slater Koekkoek — a 2012 first-round draft pick by Tampa Bay — scored midway through the frame.

Brandon Saad notched a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who won for the first time in three games. Corey Crawford registered 36 saves.

Chicago improved to 8-2-1 against the Atlantic Division this season, splitting the two-game season series against Tampa Bay.

Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each recorded a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who lost a season-long fourth consecutive game for the first time since January of 2017. Curtis McElhinney stopped 22 of 26 shots.

Playing without captain Steven Stamkos, Pat Maroon and newly acquired Blake Coleman, the Lightning dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

Scoreless after one period, Crawford kept the match scoreless with a denial of Alex Killorn’s breakaway attempt 1:32 into the second, and the two-time Stanley Cup winner made another point-blank save as Carter Verhaeghe tried to score from the slot to finish a two-on-one rush with under seven minutes remaining.

Point finally broke the scoring drought when he circled through the offensive zone and zipped in his 23rd tally from the high slot that beat Crawford on the glove side at 15:31 to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Kucherov took a diagonal pass through the slot from Point and rifled home his team-leading 31st marker just 17 seconds into the third period for a 2-0 edge.

With the tally, Point has recorded points in 13 of the last 14 games he skated in. He did not play in the team’s 5-3 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas last Thursday. Kucherov has 29 points in his last 18 games, scoring in 12 straight and six straight with one game missed in between.

Saad shoved in his 20th goal on a rebound at 4:36, and Kubalik tied it 2-2 by putting in his own putback just 26 seconds later to tie it at 2. Koekkoek’s long shot slipped through McElhinney’s pads for Chicago’s first lead at 9:56.

Kubalik scored two more times, once into an empty net, as Chicago potted five goals in a span of 12:53. Kubalik leads all rookies with 29 goals.

—Field Level Media

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