Larsson hat trick helps Coyotes hand Blackhawks sixth straight loss

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Johan Larsson had his first NHL hat trick for the Arizona Coyotes in a 6-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Gila River Arena on Thursday.

It was Larsson’s first three goals of the season. He has scored six points in his past three games after he had three assists in an 8-7 shootout loss at the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 28.

“You want to be out there when it’s the big moments in the game, and it’s nice to go out and get some goals and get the confidence going,” Larsson said.

Video: CHI@ARI: Larsson tallies first NHL hat trick

Travis Boyd had a goal and two assists, and Karel Vejmelka made 32 saves for the Coyotes (7-22-3), who lost their previous two games and eight of nine (1-7-1). Shayne Gostisbehere, Phil Kessel and Janis Moser each had two assists.

Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks (11-18-5), who lost their sixth in a row (0-3-3) and 11th in 13 (2-10-1). Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves.

After the game, they held a players-only meeting.

“It’s good. They need to,” Chicago coach Derek King said. “It can’t be myself of the rest of the staff coming in there and telling them what they’re doing wrong or what they need to do. Honestly, I never went in. I saw the door shut, so I just left it. … It’s frustrating and I know they’re frustrated. The biggest thing is they still need to believe that they’re a good team and they can pull out of this and continue to try to climb the charts here. My message was to just back each other up, stay as a team.”

Boyd scored off Kessel’s pass on a power play to give the Coyotes a 3-2 lead at 9:56 of the second period, the first of three consecutive goals for Arizona.

Clayton Keller scored at 3:10 of the third to make it 4-2, a goal unsuccessfully challenged by the Blackhawks for goalie interference.

Larsson’s power-play goal 51 seconds later at 4:01 made it 5-2 and gave the Coyotes their first three-goal lead of the season.

Arizona was 2-for-5 on the power play.

“I always think when your power play generates momentum, that means your best players are doing good things,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said. “That means they play with confidence and [it] translates to 5-on-5.”

Toews cut it to 5-3 with his 350th NHL goal and fifth in nine games at 6:29 of the third, and Alex DeBrincat‘s third power-play goal in two games made it 5-4 at 13:21.

“Some of these games it feels like you’re playing three games in one,” Gostisbehere said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs. It’s a lot of emotions on the bench. It’s good for our young guys to get that experience and see what it takes to get two points in this league.”

Video: CHI@ARI: Vejmelka makes save on DeBrincat

Larsson completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:31 for the 6-4 final.

The Coyotes entered last in the NHL with 64 goals in 31 games but have scored 20 in their past four.

“The last couple of games, we’re kind of creating more, and it shows up on the score sheet,” Larsson said.

Dysin Mayo‘s second NHL goal gave Arizona a 1-0 lead at 3:16 of the first period.

Larsson made it 2-0 at 19:06. It was his first goal since April 28, 2021, against the Sharks.

Kirby Dach batted in Philipp Kurashev‘s rebound attempt at 1:01 of the second to cut it to 2-1, and MacKenzie Entwistle scored on a 2-on-1 with Toews to tie it 2-2 at 5:24.

“There’s clearly time in these last few games where we’re playing really good hockey, and take we take a few shifts off, some tough penalties are not killed off and one thing leads to another,” Toews said. “We’ve just got to find ways to commit to each other and not have those lapses of energy and focus.”

NOTES: Larsson’s previous NHL high in a game was two goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 31, 2016. … Fleury had won six in a row against the Coyotes and had allowed two goals or fewer in each. … The Blackhawks played with 11 forwards and seven defensemen after forward Brandon Hagel and defenseman Erik Gustafsson were placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol less than an hour before the game. … Keller has six goals in 11 games against the Blackhawks. … Coyotes forward Jay Beagle will be out at least eight weeks and possibly the rest of the season after having surgery to repair a lower-body injury.

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