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Sharp celebrates b-day with hat trick as Blackhawks roll
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.
12/28 01:26:23 ET
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