NEWARK, N.J. — Patrick Sharp couldn’t have picked a better time to complete the hat trick Friday night in New Jersey.
The Blackhawks were clinging to a 4-3 lead when Kane found the back of the net for the third time to give his team some breathing room with 1:28 left to play in the game.
“Oh what a period, what a game,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said when asked about Sharp. “That line was spectacular tonight. They were a threat and dangerous all night. Nice rush goals and spectacular shot from an impossible angle.
“Then he gets the big goal when all of a sudden they’re pressing. He makes a great play off the neutral zone and finishes.”
It was his second hat trick in the five games. Sharp’s last three-goal night came back on Dec. 27, his birthday, against the Colorado Avalanche. He has now recorded 21 points (14 goals, 7 assists) in his last 13 games.
Line mate Jonathan Toews was happy to see Sharp producing the way he has been recently. Toews said he’s been playing confidently.
“He’s flying, he’s got lots of energy,” he said. “It’s great to see. As his line mate I even catch myself in shooting position sometimes still giving him the puck cause that’s the way he’s been playing. Everything that touches his stick ends up in the back of the net.”
[MORE: Sharp tallies hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Devils]
Sharp currently sits second in the NHL in goals, with 25 through 44 games. Only Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has more goals than Sharp. He is also tied for sixth in the league in points, with 45. John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals also have 45 points.
After the 5-3 win, Duncan Keith said that he hasn’t seen too many players score the way Sharp has been.
“He scores a lot of goals,” Keith said. “He’s got a great shot. I think those goals were just perfect examples of that. Where it was just right underneath the bar and in, so he’s got a great shot and that whole line has been great.”
In the second period Sharp found a way to put the puck past Martin Brodeur while he was nearly parallel with the New Jersey goal line. It was a prime example of what Keith was talking about.
The 32-year-old Blackhawk forward was even more determined to put one in the net Friday night, knowing he’d have future legends such as Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr on the ice with him.
“It’s fun to play against a guy like Marty Brodeur,” he said. “Arguable the best goaltender of all time. You see guys like that on the ice, Jaromir Jagr as well, it’s crazy to lineup against those guys. It was a fun game to play against them.”
Sharp's superb play has benefited the Blackhawks lately. And while Toews knows it doesn’t matter who scores, he does hope that the scoring continues.
“If our line is scoring it doesn’t matter who’s doing,” he said. “But Sharp has obviously been hot, so hopefully we’ll continue that way.”