Patrick Kane explodes for hat trick as Blackhawks beat Maple Leafs

Kane backed up his recent claim that he isn’t being hampered by injury in the Hawks’ 5-3 victory Sunday, electrifying a sellout crowd with a vintage performance.

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Patrick Kane celebrates with Max Domi.

Patrick Kane and Max Domi each tallied four points in the Blackhawks’ win Sunday.

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

For weeks, Patrick Kane has insisted he isn’t being hampered by injury.

On Sunday, he proved it.

Kane exploded for a hat trick in a display of soft hands, pinpoint accuracy and overall savviness, powering the Blackhawks to a 5-3 victory against the Maple Leafs and avenging a loss last week in Toronto.

‘‘A couple of times out there, you just get chills,’’ Kane said.

Added coach Luke Richardson: ‘‘I’ve only seen vintage Patrick Kane on TV, so [I got] to see it live. He has been definitely playing with confidence and swagger.’’

After scoring only nine times in his first 50 games of the season, Kane has five goals in his last two games and maintained the momentum he built alongside Max Domi on Friday against the Senators.

He and Domi each had four points Sunday, with Domi assisting on all three of Kane’s goals before Kane returned the favor for Domi’s empty-netter. This is certainly the most active and dangerous Kane has looked since the three games he missed in January, when his nagging lower-body injury flared up, and it lends credence to his recent claim he feels better now than he did last season.

‘‘[I’m] just getting the shots through, picking your corners and getting chances, too,’’ Kane said.

Mixed in with the celebration of past and present, however, were a few glimpses of the Hawks’ future that excited a sellout crowd of 20,979 — the second-biggest of the season.

Rookie forward Cole Guttman scored the prettiest first NHL goal you’ll see to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead with 8:18 left, and rookie goalie Jaxson Stauber made some huge saves among his 32 stops to improve to 4-1-0 in his career.

‘‘We never backed down,’’ Richardson said. ‘‘Anytime [the Leafs] got a goal, we went right back at them.’’

Trade overtones

Before the game, general manager Kyle Davidson said he expects a decision ‘‘soon’’ from Kane about whether he’ll accept a trade before the deadline March 3 and, if so, to which teams.

He insisted Kane’s slowness in reaching a decision about his no-trade clause hasn’t bothered him, though.

‘‘I just want to dispel that notion,’’ Davidson said. ‘‘He deserves the leeway to make the right decision for himself, so we’re going to give him that space. But when we do get to a conclusion, one way or the other, it’ll be through a collaborative decision-making process.’’

Kane said he, agent Pat Brisson and Davidson have had discussions ‘‘pretty much every day for the past few weeks.’’ He clarified that the Maple Leafs, who were gaining steam in the rumor mill before acquiring Ryan O’Reilly from the Blues, were never a real possibility as a destination.

Meanwhile, captain Jonathan Toews’ decision to step away from the Hawks for health reasons might affect Kane’s decision, but that could go either way.

On one hand, Toews’ absence from the locker room might make Kane feel less obligated to stay. On the other hand, Toews still being in Chicago and not getting traded might make Kane more inclined to stay.

This and that

As far as trade discussions not related to Toews or Kane, Davidson said things are ‘‘starting to pick up.’’

• Forward MacKenzie Entwistle is considered day-to-day with another wrist injury. He’ll be out at least through Tuesday against the Golden Knights and potentially into the four-game road trip after that.

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