NEW YORK – The Chicago Blackhawks are heading to the White House to celebrate their third Stanley Cup in six years, and they are bringing along a Russian rookie who could help them win another championship.
Artemi Panarin scored his first hat trick and the Blackhawks rallied to beat the New York Rangers 5-3 on Wednesday night after blowing a two-goal lead.
“He’s been great for us,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of the 24-year-old sensation who was signed as an undrafted free agent over the summer. “The consistency, the contribution to that line, the power play, the puck possession game, the offense from Day 1. He’s been fun to watch. He’s enjoying himself here.”
Panarin played last season in the KHL for Saint Petersburg and wasn’t a part of the Blackhawks’ Cup winner.
However, he will be with the team Thursday morning when it visits with President Barack Obama at the White House.
“I’m sure that the guys that are on the team now that have been a part of it before will enjoy it, and the guys who weren’t here will try to do it again this year and be back again,” said Patrick Kane, who set up Panarin’s winner with 3 minutes to play.
The Rangers were not happy with the penalty on defenseman Keith Yandle for holding Jonathan Toews behind the net with 3:30 to play. They were miffed even more 30 seconds later when Kane found Panarin skating down the middle for a power play goal from close range against Henrik Lundqvist.
Panarin added his 22nd of the season into an empty net with 1:11 to go.
Lundqvist was so annoyed with the late penalty he yelled at the officials as they skated off the ice after the game.
“I didn’t agree with the calls in the end but that’s how it goes,” said Lundqvist, who only faced 19 shots.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault felt three of the four penalties called on his team were borderline.
“You’ve got to find a way to get the job done, killing the penalty,” he said. “We didn’t do that.”
Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw also scored and Corey Crawford made 31 saves to help Chicago hand the Rangers their first regulation loss at home in 11 games (8-1-2). Avalanche 3, Canadiens 2
In Denver, Jarome Iginla broke a tie with 2:03 left with his second goal of the game in Colorado’s victory over Montreal.
Iginla also had a power-play goal in the second period after having a goal waved off for goaltender interference. He has 17 goals this season to push his career total to 606.
Erik Johnson also added a short-handed goal for the Avs.
Andrei Markov and Lars Eller scored for the Canadiens.Wild 5, Flames 3
In Calgary, Jason Pominville had a goal and an assist to help slumping Minnesota beat the Flames.
The Wild have won their first two games under interim coach John Torchetti after a 1-11-2 stretch that cost coach Mike Yeo his job.
Bettman denies appeal
New York AP
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension for cross-checking a linesman.
The NHL announced the appeal decision Wednesday, and the NHL Players’ Association said later that it would further appeal to neutral arbitrator James Oldham.
Wideman met with Bettman at a hearing in New York last week after the player appealed the suspension handed down Feb. 3 by NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell.