Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Sharp's 32nd birthday was a
memorable one, as the Chicago Blackhawks forward registered a hat trick in a
7-2 rout of the Colorado Avalanche at United Center.
Sharp, who also collected an assist, scored twice in the first period and lit
the lamp a third time 27 seconds into the second period to become the first
Blackhawk with a hat trick on his birthday.
"It was a special game," said Sharp. "I thought maybe I could have had one the
last game when I hit a post on the last shift. When things are going in like
that you just try to get open, get good passes from your teammates and try to
ride it for as long as you can."
Jonathan Toews had two goals and two assists for Chicago, which has won seven
of its last nine games. The Avalanche made it fairly easy for Blackhawks
goalie Antti Raanta, testing him with just 18 shots.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere was beaten seven times by Chicago on 24 shots through
two periods. Semyon Varlamov relieved Giguere at the outset of the third
period and made 13 saves for the Avalanche, who have lost three games in a
row, all on the road, and seven of 10 overall.
"They always seemed to play well at home and we came out with a lackluster
effort in the first," said Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson. "It just kind of
got out of control from there."
Sharp opened the scoring 12:27 into the contest. Positioned at the Colorado
blue line, Sharp gathered Duncan Keith's pass and got a step on Avalanche
defenseman Jan Hejda before firing the puck from the right circle to the far
side of the net.
Toews and Sharp tallied 1:15 apart later in the first period. Marian Hossa was
pokechecked by Giguere, but the puck went right to Toews and he didn't miss
from in close with 1:57 remaining.
Sharp then let go a slap shot from atop the right circle on a power play to
make it 3-0 with 42 seconds left.
It didn't take him long to complete the trifecta as he backhanded a rebound
past Giguere early in the middle stanza.
Later in the frame, Sharp made an outstanding defensive play, triggering a
counterattack that resulted in Toews' second goal. Sharp lifted the stick to
thwart a breakaway bid by Matt Duchene, then sent a long pass to Toews and he
scored at 8:21.
Paul Stastny, who turned 28 on Friday, put Colorado on the board less than a
minute later, but the Blackhawks got goals from Michal Handzus, off a nice
feed from Patrick Kane, and Kris Versteeg to head into the second intermission
with a 7-1 lead.
Gabriel Landeskog scored in the third period for the Avalanche.
The last NHL player to record a hat trick on his birthday was the late Pavol
Demitra with St. Louis on Nov. 29, 2002 ... Kane extended his point streak to
13 games ... Duchene played in his 300th NHL game ... The five-goal margin was
the largest in a Chicago victory on home ice against Colorado since its 1995
relocation from Denver.