Patrick Kane had a hat trick and the Chicago Blackhawks earned their 10th consecutive win with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
Artemi Panarin also scored and assisted on two of Kane’s goals for the Blackhawks (30-13-4). Scott Darling made 28 saves to earn the win in net for Chicago while Corey Crawford took the night off after a 2-1 win in Montreal the night before.
Kane, who added an assist for a four-point night, now has 28 goals on the season – best in the NHL.
The Blackhawks’ win puts Chicago in first in the Central Division, a point ahead of the Dallas Stars, who played in Anaheim later Friday night.
Morgan Rielly responded for Maple Leafs (16-19-7), who have lost four in a row. James Reimer stopped 25 of 28 shots for Toronto.
Kane scored his first goal of the night midway through the second period just as a Toronto penalty ended, putting away a cross-ice pass from Duncan Keith, who was down low after Chicago had briefly been stripped of the puck in the dying seconds of its power play.
Kane struck again with 2 minutes 47 seconds left in the second. Kane one-timed the puck past a diving Reimer from almost an identical spot as his first goal. This goal was on the power play as Matt Hunwick served a high-sticking penalty.
Hunwick’s penalty was one of four that Toronto took in the second, including a high-sticking penalty Nazem Kadri took with a second left in the period.
Roman Polak then earned a cross-checking penalty 12 seconds into the third.
Panarin made the most of Chicago’s ensuing two-man advantage, giving the Blackhawks a 3-0 lead just 21 seconds into the third.
Rielly ended Darling’s shutout bid 3:47 into the third, wiring a wrist shot from the faceoff circle over the Chicago goaltender’s shoulder to cut the Blackhawks lead to 3-1.
Brad Boyes almost added a goal for Toronto near the midway point of the third, firing a one-timer at close range at Darling, who made a stunning save. Boyes could’ve collected his own rebound for a second shot but mishandled the puck.
Kane completed his hat trick with 2:12 left in regulation by putting the puck into an empty net.
It looked as though Andrew Shaw had opened scoring for Chicago with 7:53 left in the first period, banging in his own rebound after putting a shot on net. However, Toronto coach Mike Babcock challenged the play and it was overruled because Marian Hossa was a stride ahead of Shaw on the play, making it offside.Report Typo/Error