CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.
Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.
Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.
Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game.
Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 34 saves. Arizona’s Mike Smith stopped 23 shots.
Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson left after skating five shifts in the first period.
Hjalmarsson didn’t appear to suffer an injury and Chicago gave no reason why he left when the team announced he wouldn’t return. The 29-year-old, second on the Blackhawks with 21:59 of ice time per game, didn’t participate in the team’s morning skate on Thursday.
The Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, but the Coyotes took advantage of Chicago defensive breakdowns to score goals 57 second apart late in the period to tie it 3-all after 20 minutes.
Schmaltz, celebrating his 21st birthday, opened the scoring just 37 seconds in, taking Toews’ cross-ice feed to complete a 2-on-1 break. Chychrun tied it at 1 on a screened shot from the left circle at 7:36.
Set up by Marian Hossa, Hartman connected from the low edge of the right circle at 10:28 to make it 2-1. Kane extended Chicago’s advantage to 3-1 just over six minutes later on sharp-angle shot than banked in off Smith’s torso on the short side.
White cut it to 3-2 with 2:18 left in the first when his initial shot hit the backboards and bounded in front. White skated around Rozsival and buried the loose puck.
Vrbata was alone at the edge of the crease and tapped in Martin Hanzal’s feed from the left boards with 1:21 left in the first.
Rozsival and Kane scored in the second to put Chicago back in front, 5-3.
Rozsival trailed in and fired a shot past Smith’s glove 2:56 into the period after taking a pass from Schmaltz.
Kane’s second goal, with 7:19 left in the period, gave Chicago its second two-goal lead.
Kane broke in down the right wing, then pulled up in the circle. Instead of making a cross-ice pass to Tanner Kero, he shot and beat Smith between the pads.
Kane completed his hat trick at 9:49 of the third when he fooled Smith on the stick side with an off-balance wrist shot from the edge of the right circle.
NOTES: Blackhawks rookie C Vinnie Hinostroza was a scratch. … Rozsival returned to the lineup after sitting out 14 games _ six because of a foot injury and eight as a healthy scratch. … Arizona D Anthony DeAngelo was in the lineup following his recall from Tucson of the AHL on Monday. He filled a spot created after the Coyotes D Michael Stone was traded to Calgary for draft picks. … Arizona G Louis Domingue returned to back up Smith after being injured (lower body) for three games.
Coyotes: Play at Dallas on Friday night.
Blackhawks: Host St. Louis on Sunday in the final regular-season game between
the Central Division rivals.