Artem Anisimov is in his ninth season in the NHL and he has, apparently, not been thinking about this moment. After scoring his first career hat trick, all in the third period and all crucial for a 6-3 Blackhawks win over the Rangers, the 29-year-old center was asked what he was going to do with the puck. “I don’t know,” he said, “I’ll probably do some shit, like, I’m going to put it on the wall.”
Anisimov’s hatty broke apart what had been a tight game, 1-1 after two, with the scuffling Blackhawks eyeing what could have been their fourth loss in five games and ninth in 13. But 1:07 into the third, Anisimov did what he does, put himself in front of the crease where Patrick Kane found him for the tiebreaking goal.
Chicago would not relinquish the lead, and 4:07 later, Anisimov cleaned up a rebound to make it 4-1 and chase Henrik Lundqvist from the game.
But the Rangers roared back with a pair to make it a one-goal game, until Anisimov, with 3:48 left, sealed the game and cinched his hat trick with a little chip on an odd-man rush.
Here are Anisimov’s three goals; they’re all pretty in-character for him, in that they’re all opportunistic. He may not do the messy work, but in each case he puts himself at exactly the right spot at the right time, and finishes. That sort of skill shouldn’t go under-appreciated.
It felt extra-good for Anisimov, who was drafted by the Rangers and played for them until 2012.
“It means more,” said Anisimov. “When you go against your former team you want to play twice as hard and you want to score a goal, obviously. But I scored three, so I’m happy.”
With the win Chicago gets to 9-8-2, putting them smack in the middle of what looks like a really solid Central Division (even with expected contenders Minnesota and Dallas yet to get going.) The Rangers, after a really awful start, are also at 9-8-2. It’s a long season that’s not even a quarter over, try not to get too hung up on the standings just yet, just enjoy the goals.