Dylan Strome’s first NHL hat trick carries Blackhawks past Red Wings

Strome had four points as the Hawks broke out offensively, held off several Red Wings comebacks and secured a wild 8-5 win.

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Dylan Strome’s big night lifted the Blackhawks to an 8-5 win Wednesday in Detroit.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

DETROIT — The last time Dylan Strome scored a hat trick before this week, he was playing for the Erie Otters in the 2017 Memorial Cup.

Then Wednesday happened.

Strome felt a golden touch from the opening puck drop and finished with four points — including his first career NHL hat trick — as he carried the suddenly explosive Blackhawks to a drought-busting 8-5 win over the Red Wings.

“It feels good, obviously,” he said. “It’d been a long time, but I’ll take it.”

“I don’t know what he ate, [but] I bet it was something special,” Dominik Kubalik joked. “Everything he touched was dangerous.”

Strome had already been playing his best hockey of the season lately, with a solid nine points in his last 15 games and five points in his last seven. But those points were all distributed evenly — he hadn’t enjoyed even a two-point night since the finale of last season — and he certainly wasn’t taking over any games singlehandedly.

Wednesday changed that trend dramatically. He was credited with seven shot attempts, six shots on goal and five scoring chances in addition to his four points, plus won 10 of 17 faceoffs.

After Kubalik broke the ice early on, Strome dominated the rest of the first period. He tipped in a shot-pass from Alex DeBrincat, then sniped a wrist shot in the upper corner, then fed Sam Lafferty off a rebound on a two-on-one to give the Hawks a 4-0 first-intermission lead.

“You get lucky on that first one, and then the second one goes in and you just feel good,” he said. “Myself, Patrick and [Brandon Hagel], we gel really nicely together. We’ve had a lot of chances and it was just a matter of time before they went in. It’s nice to get rewarded.”

The Wings, however, never lost their fight, scoring three times in the second period to cut the deficit to 4-3.

And after Strome’s hat-trick goal and Alex DeBrincat’s first of two goals on the night extended the Hawks’ advantage back to 6-3, the Wings struck twice in short order to again pull within one.

Not until Hagel intercepted a pass and beat Wings goalie Calvin Pickard — who entered in relief yet was eventually credited with the loss — to make it 7-5 with 3:37 left did Detroit seem to give in.

“I was just like, ‘Uh, I’m not feeling good about this,’” interim coach Derek King said. “But the good thing is the guys didn’t just go into a shell. They kept going and plugging along. When [the Wings] made mistakes, we capitalized, just like they did.”

The Hawks’ eight goals were their most in a game since February 2020, and the offensive eruption not only snapped their four-game losing streak but also led to some much-needed individual boosts across the board. DeBrincat, Hagel, Kane and Seth Jones all joined Strome in the multi-point category.

But the headlining performance of the night still clearly belonged to Strome alone.

“I’ve felt good the last 12 or 13 games, maybe longer than that,” he said. “Once the offense starts coming, the ice time starts coming, you feel good and [you] remember they signed me to a contract for a reason. I’m trying to prove that still.”

Capitals looking at Fleury

The Capitals — long considered one of the most logical suitors for Marc-Andre Fleury — might now be emerging as the front-runner.

Capitals general manager Brian McLellan is “looking into” Fleury, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Tuesday, adding that “we should prepare ourselves for the possibility.”

Their interest makes sense. There’s urgency for them to push for another Stanley Cup during this window of contention, with Alex Ovechkin still on top of his game but set to turn 37 this summer. The Caps’ current goalie duo of Ilya Samsonov (13-4-3, .902 save percentage this season) and Vitek Vanacek (9-6-5, .912) are decent but nowhere near Fleury’s level. And the Caps do own first- and second-round picks they could consider trading.

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