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game recap

Kubalik hat trick helps Blackhawks hand Lightning fourth straight loss

Chicago rallies with five goals in third; Tampa Bay loses ground in Atlantic

by Corey Long / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Kubalik nets first career hatty

CHI@TBL: Kubalik records first career hat trick

Dominik Kubalik scores three times during the Blackhawks' five-goal third period against the Lightning to earn his first career NHL hat trick

  • 01:40 •

TAMPA -- Dominik Kubalik scored his first NHL hat trick during a five-goal third period for the Chicago Blackhawks in a 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning (40-19-5), who have lost four straight games after winning 11 straight. Curtis McElhinney made 22 saves. Tampa Bay is second in the Atlantic Division, seven points behind the Boston Bruins for first.

"Obviously a tough one to swallow," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "We did a lot of good things for 42 minutes. I don't know. We take a couple of penalties, and they score right after one and one on the power play. At the end of the day, you can't give up five goals in one period."

 

[WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Lightning highlights]

 

Slater Koekkoek scored his first goal of the season for the Blackhawks (28-28-8), who had lost two in a row. Corey Crawford made 37 saves.

It was the Blackhawks' first regular-season win at Amalie Arena since Feb. 17, 2009. They are eight points behind the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets for the second Wild Card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"We're definitely never out of game and we always have a chance with this offense," Crawford said. "[We had] too many penalties … especially early in the game. But we showed a lot of character. It's nice to be on the winning side this time."

Video: CHI@TBL: Koekkoek sneaks point shot through traffic

Kubalik has five multigoal games since Jan. 11.

"I'm really happy that it happened," the rookie forward said. "I have no idea [what's clicking]. I would like to know as well. I'm just trying to the same thing … be around the net. I've been lucky."

Kubalik tied the game 2-2 with his first goal at 5:02 of the third when he jammed home his own rebound. He extended the lead to 4-2 at 11:43 and scored into an empty net to complete the hat trick at 17:29 for the 5-2 final.

"In the third we stuck with it," Kubalik said. "We were talking about shooting the puck and being around the net. We are happy we found a way to come back."

Point gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 15:31 of the second period.

Kucherov made it 2-0 at 17 seconds of the third, scoring from a sharp angle after Chicago failed to clear the zone. He had an assist and extended his point streak to six games (four goals, four assists). He has 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in an 18-game personal point streak.

"They are all frustrating when you lose," Point said. "We played good for 42 minutes and they started to take it to us. This wasn't our best performance. I don't think we can build much off this."

Video: CHI@TBL: Kucherov buries Point's cross-ice set-up

Brandon Saad cut it to 2-1 at 4:36 of the third.

Koekkoek gave Chicago a 3-2 lead with a low shot through traffic at 9:56.

"It's a good job by our team for sticking with it against a good hockey team," Saad said. "You get down and it's easy to quit, but for us we had a resilient group tonight. We got around the net, got some bounces and are feeling good about ourselves."

The Lightning played without forwards Steven Stamkos (lower-body injury), Pat Maroon (undisclosed injury) and Blake Coleman (personal).

"I thought we had good control of that game, to be honest," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Then pucks just started going in."

Video: CHI@TBL: Blackhawks strike twice in 26 seconds

 

They said it

"I thought we responded really well in the third, especially after we gave up the second [goal]. It could've went the other way, but the guys responded and we found a way." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton

"Oh, I have no idea. This might be the first." -- Blackhawks defenseman Slater Koekkoek on how many game-winning goals he has in his NHL career (one)

"You reel off a couple of good win streaks like that and maybe you take a breath, and all of sudden you're looking ahead to playoffs down the road … but gosh, that's still 18 games away. There's a lot of runway left, and we haven't even come close to clinching a spot." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Kubalik nets three vs. Tampa

 

Need to know

Tampa Bay had a 16-game point streak (14-0-2) against Chicago end. Its last lost to the Blackhawks in regulation Dec. 13, 2009. … The Lightning lost for the first time in regulation this season when leading after two periods (28-1-4). … Hedman had an assist, 13 shot attempts (seven on goal) and six blocked shots. … Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews was plus-2 and won 15 of 23 face-offs.

Video: Clutch Performance: Crawford stops 36 shots

 

What's next

Blackhawks: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-F, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV)

Lightning: Host the Calgary Flames on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; SUN, SNW, NHL.TV)

Video: Kubalik nets first hatty, Blackhawks rally for win

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