Larsson hat trick leads Coyotes to win over Blackhawks

Arizona won a wild game by a 6-4 score


James Mackey

Johan Larsson speaks to the media after his hat trick performance.

For the second time since Dec. 15, the Arizona Coyotes hosted a game at Gila River Arena against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Karel Vejmelka started in net for the Coyotes, entering the game with a 3.19 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

On the other end of the ice, reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc Andre-Fleury made his 22nd appearance of the season. He entered Thursday’s game with a 2.91 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

Dysin Mayo got the Coyotes on the board early, firing a wrister past Fleury 3:16 into the game. Shayne Gostisbehere and Alex Galchenyuk provided the assists.

Late in the period, Janis Moser sent a shot on net after receiving a pass from Gostisbehere. Johan Larsson was in the right place at the right time to make the score 2-0 with less than a minute to go in the frame.

The Blackhawks’ Kirby Dach got his team on the board almost immediately following the intermission, ending Vejmelka’s shutout 61 seconds into the second. The visitors then tied the game at 5:24 of the period through Mackenzie Entwistle, with Jonathan Toews and Calvin De Haan assisting.

Phil Kessel stepped up to assist the Coyotes’ third goal a little over four minutes later, a tally which restored their lead before the period expired. The winger set up fellow veteran Andrew Ladd for his second goal of the year to make the score 3-2.

In the third period, Clayton Keller fired a shot from the blue line that Travis Boyd tipped in past Fleury to extend the lead. Larsson then struck again, with Boyd grabbing another assist along with Kessel, to widen the gap to three goals.

But Chicago did not go away. Toews snagged his first goal of the season on a tip-in at 6:29 before sniper Alex Debrincat scored his 21st on a man advantage. That made the score 5-4 with less than seven minutes to go.

However, the Coyotes held on, and Larsson capped a night to remember by firing the puck into an empty net for his third goal. That completed the 29-year-old’s hat trick, and it sealed a Coyotes victory — the team’s seventh in 32 games this season.

The Coyotes continue their four-game home stand on Saturday, when the Nashville Predators come to town.