DeBrincat’s third hat trick this season not enough for a Blackhawks’ win


Chicago Blackhawks right wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues, Sunday, March 18, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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by Scott King

Even with a 13-game goalless streak coming into Sunday’s game, the Blackhawks have gotten what they wanted out of rookie Alex DeBrincat this season. The 20-year-old Michigan native has proven to be a prolific play-maker that continually improved his two-way game throughout the disappointing season.

“It’s nice,” DeBrincat said of his rookie season success. “But it’s tough to be happy when we’re not where we want to be.”

Before Sunday’s game at the United Center vs. the St. Louis Blues, DeBrincat was three goals shy of the team leader Patrick Kane (25).

Alex gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead and snapped his goalless streak with a power-play goal at 13:07 in the first period.

He added another tally with less than a minute remaining in the first.

Late in the third period, it was 3-3 when DeBrincat decided to grab the third hat trick of his rookie season. He became just the sixth NHL player to record at least three hat tricks in their rookie season in the past 30 years.

“It’s pretty cool,” DeBrincat said of his rookie season’s impressive collection of on-ice hats. “But I wouldn’t be able to do it without the guys in this locker room and the linemates I’ve had, so most credit to them.”

The rookie’s contributions have certainly been noticed by his teammates.

“He’s got a great shot, he seems to score in bunches too,” Duncan Keith said of DeBrincat. “So when he gets one, he gets on a roll. He doesn’t need much time to get it off.

“I think he fools a lot of goalies with how quick his release is. He seems to be able to pick corners really good when he’s got time like that. It’s nice to see him have a great game like that. Overall I think the amount of goals he’s scored is a good sign for him.”

It looked like that would do it for the night, then Alex Pietrangelo tied it at 4-4 with 1:22 remaining in regulation.

Patrik Berglund scored the game-winner which dribbled through Hawks goaltender J. F. Berube’s five-hole at 3:31 into overtime.

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