CHICAGO – Patrick Sharp scored three goals for his third career hat trick and set up one of Jonathan Toews two scores to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past the Colorado Avalanche 7-2 on Friday night.
Toews added two assists as both he and Sharp finished with four points. Michal Handzus and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Blackhawks, whose league-leading offense powered them to a second straight win and improved them to 7-1-1 in their past nine.
Colorados Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog beat Chicago rookie Antti Raanta, who finished with 16 saves in his eighth straight start – all since Blackhawks top goalie Corey Crawford suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 8
Sharp, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Friday, has 21 goals this season and 10 in his past nine games. He scored twice in Chicagos previous game, a 5-2 win over New Jersey on Monday.
But more impressive was how he assisted on Toews second goal of the game against the Avalanche. That score put Chicago ahead 5-0 midway through the second.
Colorado leading scorer Matt Duchene was bearing down on Raanta on a breakaway. But Sharp caught up to Duchene just as he was about to shoot, hooked his stick and stole the puck.
Sharp then turned deep in his zone and wheeled a pass to Toews down the ice on right wing. Toews moved in, faked and beat a helpless Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Giguere allowed seven goals through two periods on the Blackhawks first 24 shots. Semyon Varlamov relieved him in the third and stopped all 13 he faced.
BLUE JACKETS 2, DEVILS 1, SO: In Newark, N.J., Cam Atkinson scored in the shootout to lead Columbus.
Curtis McElhinney made 16 saves for Columbus, which has won three in a row. Artem Anisimov scored the Blue Jackets goal in regulation.
PENGUINS 4, HURRICANES 3, OT: In Raleigh, N.C., James Neal scored at 1:03 of overtime to lift Pittsburgh.
NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby had a goal, and Chris Conner and Deryk Engelland each scored in the third period to help the Eastern Conference leaders win their 13th in 15 games.
BRUINS 5, SENATORS 0: In Boston, Tuukka Rask made 33 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and Reilly Smith scored two goals as Boston improved to 13-0-2 in its last 15 home games.
CAPITALS 3 RANGERS 2: In Washington, Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist, and Eric Fehr scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:09 left to lift Washington.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, SABRES 3, SO: In Toronto, Jonathan Bernier stopped all three Sabres in the shootout, and Joffrey Lupul scored the only shootout goal to give Toronto the victory.
JETS 6, WILD 4: In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Blake Wheeler scored two goals to lead Winnipeg.
Wheeler ended a scramble in front of the Minnesota net when he poked the puck under Niklas Backstrom with 9:20 remaining in the third period for his 14th goal of the season, giving the Jets a 5-4 lead.
STARS 4, PREDATORS 1: In Dallas, Erik Cole scored two goals in the second period as Dallas won for the fourth time in five games.