Artem Anisimov scored his first career hat trick to help the Chicago Blackhawks put end to the New York Rangers’ six-game winning streak in a 6-3 win on Wednesday.
Anismov, facing his former team, converted at 1:07, 5:14 in the final frame, with John Hayden‘s second of the season sandwiched between both to take a 4-1 lead early.
The quick succession of goals forced Alain Vigneault’s hand as the head coach pulled Henrik Lundqvist in favor of backup Ondrej Pavelec. Lundqvist had featured in all six of the Rangers wins during the streak and stopped 30-of-34 shots in the game, but New York needed a boost.
The change in goal did the tick and woke the Rangers up from their slumber. Goals from Kevin Hayes and Rick Nash came 4:48 apart, bringing the game back from the brink and the Rangers to within one at 4-3.
New York’s hope was short-lived, however.
Anisimov wasn’t finished with his old team and sent hats flying onto the ice at 16:12 after tipping home a centring pass from Michal Kempny.
It was quite the turnaround for the Blackhawks, who trailed 1-0 with less than a minute to go in the second frame.
The Rangers looked to have escaped the barrage in the second, with Blackhawks piling on the pressure to the tune of 16 shots. But Lundqvist’s could only negotiate 15 of them as Alex DeBrincat‘s wrist shot trickled through Lundqvist’s pads at 19:08 to cancel out Mike Zibanejed’s first-period marker (a thing of beauty following Chris Krieder’s backhand filthy pass.)
New York had a prime opportunity to push their 1-0 advantage in the first period as Hayden took a high-sticking double minor, but the Rangers were unable to convert as Corey Crawford turned aside all five shots the Rangers sent his way.
Crawford, who hadn’t won in his previous three starts, stopped 25-of-28 en route to his eighth win of the season, even with his shaky third period.