Anisimov hat trick leads Blackhawks past Rangers
CHICAGO (AP) — Artem Anisimov did his usual dirty work. He went to the front of the net and waited for an opportunity.
He was rewarded with his first career hat trick — against one of his former teams, too.
Anisimov scored three times in the third period, Nick Schmaltz had three assists and the Chicago Blackhawks cooled off the New York Rangers with a 6-3 victory Wednesday night.
“The puck goes in and the puck finds me in front. Something’s going to happen,” said Anisimov, who made his NHL debut with New York in 2009 and played in 244 games with the Rangers.
Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden and Jonathan Toews also scored for Chicago, which had dropped three of four. Duncan Keith had two assists and Corey Crawford made 25 saves, helping the Blackhawks bounce back from an ugly 7-5 loss to New Jersey on Sunday.
New York had won six in a row — the longest win streak in the NHL this season — and it carried a 1-0 lead into the final minute of the second period. But the Blackhawks grabbed control with four goals in 6:06, capped by Anisimov’s power-play slam through Henrik Lundqvist’s legs at 5:14 of the third.
“We didn’t play well in the second and third period,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We got what we deserved.”
Rick Nash had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who have scored at least three times in 11 of their last 13 games. Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad also scored, and Lundqvist made 30 saves before he was replaced by Ondrej Pavelec at 6:32 of the third.
“It was a 10-minute stretch where we lost the game,” Lundqvist said.
DeBrincat started Chicago’s scoring spree with a wrist shot from the left circle at 19:08 of the second. It looked as if Lundqvist had made the stop, but the puck rolled out from under him and just across the goal line for the rookie’s fourth goal in the last three games.
“It was a huge goal for us,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had a good second period, did a lot of good things and then all of the sudden it gets us excited about the third.”
The Blackhawks kept up the pressure after intermission. Anisimov jumped on a loose puck in front and poked it by Lundqvist for a 2-1 lead just 67 seconds into the period. Hayden made a lunging play for his second of the season, and Anisimov delivered again to make it 4-1.
New York put a scare into Chicago with goals by Hayes and Nash, pulling within one with 8:04 left. But Schmaltz made a perfect pass to Anisimov for his ninth goal of the season, and Toews added an empty-netter at 18:30.
“Artie did a great job tonight,” said defenseman Cody Franson, who had two assists. “He moved it around pretty well. If we can simplify like that, put shots in the right areas, have guys go to the front, sometimes that’s all it takes.”