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FEATURE: Perlini's resurgence seemed to be just a matter of time

With six goals in his last five games, Brendan Perlini is putting it all together and hitting his stride with the Blackhawks

by Chris Wescott /

As Brendan Perlini's parents watched the highlights of their son's first career NHL hat trick on Monday night it was a jubilant scene.

His mother Vicki tweeted out a video of Perlini's father, Fred, clutching a celebratory cigar and announcing, "you got the hat trick. I got the cigar, Bubs. This is the one I got in Arizona and said I'd smoke it when you got your hat trick. There it is, folks!"

You see, for his parents, it wasn't a matter of if Perlini would score three in a game, it was a matter of when and maybe even a little what - as in, what jersey would he be wearing?

Perlini, 22, was taken 12th overall in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Arizona Coyotes. After showing promise in his rookie season with 14 goals in just 57 games, Perlini scored 17 in 74 appearances during his sophomore campaign.

In what should have been his breakout third season in the league, Perlini tallied just two goals in his first 22 games for the Coyotes. He'd get a fresh start in the form of a trade to Chicago, packaged with Dylan Strome, in exchange for Nick Schmaltz on Nov. 25, 2018.

Tweet from @vickiperlini: He finally gets to light it up @NHLBlackhawks @Bubzp11 #smokin11

It's taken some time for Perlini to get his legs under him in a Blackhawks sweater. But over the last 10 days, he's been a revelation.

Perlini potted two goals in Los Angeles, shining during an overall disappointing team performance. He fired six shots on net versus Buffalo and scored the late equalizer to send the game to overtime in an eventual shootout victory.

And then came Monday, a night in which Perlini faced his former club and proved to be a wrecking ball nearly every shift, finishing the game with eight shots, numerous breakaways, and the aforementioned hat trick.

Lately, even when he's not scoring he's noticeable.

Video: ARI@CHI: Seabrook springs Perlini for goal

The Arizona game came just two nights removed from what Blackhawks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton described as Perlini's best game with Chicago, a 2-1 victory over Dallas in which Perlini didn't score.

"No, I would say he was better tonight," Colliton said following the 7-1 drubbing of the Coyotes. "He's skating, he's really involved, he's winning races and puck battles and then the offensive side of his game has the opportunity to come through. Really happy for him. Obviously, it was a big night for him playing his old team and, hopefully, he can continue to build his game."

And how does Perlini fit in with his teammates? Look no further than the final minutes of Monday's game when Perlini was trotted out in an attempt to secure him the hat trick. And how his teammates set up one final rush with Alex DeBrincat racing ahead to secure the puck, dropping it back for the trailing Perlini with less than four seconds to spare.

That hat trick was as much a team achievement as it was an individual one that night.

Video: ARI@CHI: Perlini scores in final seconds for hatty

"It was exciting," said Brandon Saad. "I think we were all jumping in the air for him to get that hat trick against his former team. He's got the size, speed, and skill. He's a great player. It's nice to see it go in for him."

Perlini tried to brush it off after the game, but his excitement came through.

"It's obviously great," he said. "I just wanted to get the win in general but to do that was awesome. I'll just move on here and hopefully, carry the momentum and keep playing good games moving forward."

If Perlini's performance against his former club is like officially closing of one chapter of his career, his recent success with his new squad is the like the beginning of the next.

"I had a good couple years there, but as time goes on everyone moves on and stuff," said Perlini. "I'm very grateful for my time there. They gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL, but I'm excited to be a Blackhawk now. I'm moving on. It was good to get those few goals in there."

It took 186 full games and right up until the very end of the 187th, but Mr. Perlini, you can smoke that cigar now. If your son's recent play is any indication of future success, you may have many more moments to celebrate.

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