CHICAGO — Brendan Perlini’s first career hat trick arrived at an opportune time for the desperate Chicago Blackhawks — and the 22-year-old forward.
Perlini scored three goals against his former team, and Chicago ripped the Arizona Coyotes 7-1 on Monday night for its third straight win.
"I just wanted to get the win in general, but to do that was awesome," Perlini said. "I’ll never forget that one. So move on here and carry the momentum."
Patrick Kane fired in his 41st goal as Chicago moved within five points of the second wild card in the Western Conference. Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Chris Kunitz also scored, and Corey Crawford made 24 saves.
Perlini has six goals in his last five games and 11 for the season. He has clicked on a line with Dylan Strome, who joined him in a trade from Arizona on Nov. 25, 2018, for centre Nick Schmaltz.
Perlini missed on a couple more prime chances before barely tapping in a sliding puck for his third goal with 3.6 seconds left.
"I had enough breakaways. God!" he said. "And then I wait ’til the last second there. Just keeping the fans on the edge of their seats."
Arizona had won eight of nine to surge back into the playoff picture. Richard Panik scored against his former team early in the first period, but the Blackhawks took charge midway through the opening frame.
"You can’t help but like it," Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. "The last couple (games) have been a big test and we’ve needed the points. Guys have come through with some pretty good efforts. Nice to see them get rewarded for it."
Toews converted a penalty shot in the second period to reach 30 goals for the first time since the 2010-11 season and third time overall.
Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper made his 10th straight start, but was replaced by Calvin Pickard after giving up four goals on 16 shots. Pickard blocked 15 of 18 shots.
"We just had too many guys have terrible nights," coach Rick Tocchet said. "It’s beyond me. I didn’t get these guys prepared."
Panik backhanded in a rebound of his own shot from the slot to open the scoring at 4:27. He was set up by Christian Dvorak from behind the net after Carl Dahlstrom couldn’t handle the puck in the Chicago zone.
Perlini and Saad then scored 91 seconds apart to put the Blackhawks ahead to stay.
After taking a pass from Seabrook, Perlini sprinted past Arizona defencemen Alex Goligoski and Jordan Oesterle and broke in alone. He beat Kuemper on the glove side at 6:38.
Saad, parked at the edge of the crease, tipped in Toews’ pinpoint feed from the right corner at 8:09.
The Blackhawks pounced on a couple Coyotes mistakes to pull away in the second.
Perlini connected again at 3:16 off Strome’s quick pass across the slot after Kane stole the puck from Christian Fischer. Kunitz made it 4-1 from the slot 3 minutes later, converting David Kampf’s feed from a goalmouth scramble after Dahlstrom held in a soft clearing pass in at the Arizona blue line.
The goal prompted Tocchet replace Kuemper with Pickard, but it didn’t slow Chicago’s momentum.
"They were flying out there," Tocchet said. "We’ve got to make a stand. We left Pick and Kuemps out to dry."
After Oliver Ekman-Larsson lost the puck, Kane fired in Artem Anisimov’s feed across the crease at 8:50 for a 5-1 Chicago lead.
Toews was awarded the fourth penalty shot of his career with 5:52 left in the second after being hooked from behind by Jakob Chychrun on a breakaway. He converted the chance with a wrist shot under Pickard’s right pad.
NOTES: Toews is 3 for 4 on penalty shots in his career. … Kuemper entered having allowed just 16 goals in his previous 10 starts, a span than included two shutouts. … Colliton said he pulled Anisimov midway through the third period to rest the centre. . Chicago F Drake Caggiula (concussion) missed his fifth game. … Chicago traded Panik with F Laurent Dauphin to Arizona in January 2018 for F Anthony Duclair and D Adam Clendening. … Schmaltz is out for the season with a knee injury.
Coyotes: At St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Blackhawks At Toronto on Wednesday night.