Blackhawks interim head coach Derek King reunited Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome on the top line together in search of an offensive spark. Did he ever get it.
The trio teamed up for five goals, including three in the first period, and combined for 14 points in Chicago's 8-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday at the United Center. It was a total domination.
"Stromer, Kaner and Cat, they've been clicking right now," King said. "We always try to spread the wealth and spread out some good players on different lines and it worked for a little bit and then it goes a little flat but then we put those guys [together]. So if Kaner gets six points a night, the rest of the lines just have to worry about not getting scored against."
Kane, most notably, set a career-high with six points after he scored a goal and registered five primary assists. Four of those points came on his first seven shifts of the game.
"I knew I had five in one game," Kane said. "But with like three minutes left in the third, you don't think you're getting another one but nice to get that one. I was texting [Nick Schmaltz] the other night after he had seven and I was like, 'It'd be nice to have a night like that.' Didn't quite catch him tonight, but still, six is pretty good."
It was also another terrific individual night for Strome, who scored a hat trick, added one assist, won 11 of 14 faceoffs for a win percentage of 78.6, and drew a penalty. He now has 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in his last 23 games.
"It was cool," Strome said of his second career NHL hat trick. "I got some great passes, started out pretty good and playing with some good players. Whenever you're on the ice with those guys, you've got to be ready for the puck at all times. Sometimes it finds out, other games it doesn't, but it felt good tonight."
Strome didn't score his third goal until the 17:16 mark of the final period. He knew it was going to be his last shift of the game and his eyes lit up when he got the puck in front of the net with so much space.
"It's kind of like an unwritten rule, like no one talks about it but everyone's thinking about it kind of thing," Strome laughed. "Kaner made a great pass. It's probably his worst one of the three, I guess. But he got it over to me, and it was a wide-open shot. I saw Alex backdoor, but I knew he had already poked it up to Patrick, so the line's happy and the crowd is happy, too."
And then there's DeBrincat, who extended his goal streak to four games and scored his 33rd of the season, which is now tied for fifth among all NHL skaters. He also added three assists to give himself one of the most overshadowed four-point outings ever.
"Yeah, all of a sudden he's got four points," King said. "I knew when the hats came on that Stromer had his hat trick but Cat's four points. It's a good line when they're clicking, and hopefully they can keep clicking here."
The Blackhawks haven't had many fun nights at the United Center this season but this was one of them.
"Fun night, obviously," Kane said. "Sometimes it's good to see those games, you know? ... It was a good night overall. Nice to score some goals here at home and get the crowd into it, get out early like that and feel good about ourselves."