February 18, 2016 12:16 pm
Updated: February 18, 2016 12:52 pm

Obama honours NHL champions Chicago Blackhawks at White House

WATCH: President Barack Obama welcomed the 2015 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to the White House on Thursday


NEW YORK – The Chicago Blackhawks are heading to the White House to celebrate their third Stanley Cup in six years, and they are bringing along a Russian rookie who could help them win another championship.

Artemi Panarin scored his first hat trick and the Blackhawks rallied to beat the New York Rangers 5-3 on Wednesday night after blowing a two-goal lead.

“He’s been great for us,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of the 24-year-old sensation who was signed as an undrafted free agent over the summer. “The consistency, the contribution to that line, the power play, the puck possession game, the offence from Day 1. He’s been fun to watch. He’s enjoying himself here.”

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Panarin played last season in the KHL for Saint Petersburg and wasn’t a part of the Blackhawks’ Cup winner.

However, he will be with the team Thursday morning when it visits with President Barack Obama at the White House.

“I’m sure that the guys that are on the team now that have been a part of it before will enjoy it, and the guys who weren’t here will try to do it again this year and be back again,” said Patrick Kane, who set up Panarin’s winner with 3 minutes to play.

The Rangers were not happy with the penalty on defenceman Keith Yandle for holding Jonathan Toews behind the net with 3:30 to play. They were miffed even more 30 seconds later when Kane found Panarin coming down the middle for a slam dunk against Henrik Lundqvist in close.


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Panarin added his 22nd of the season into an empty net with 1:11 to go.

Lundqvist was so annoyed with the late penalty he yelled at the officials as they skated off the ice after the game.

“I didn’t argree with the calls in the end but that’s how it goes,” said Lundqvist, who only faced 19 shots.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault felt three of the four penalties called on his team were borderline.

“You’ve got to find a way to get the job done, killing the penalty,” he said. “We didn’t do that.”

Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw also scored and Corey Crawford made 31 saves to help Chicago hand New York its first regulation loss at home in 11 games (8-1-2).

The Blackhawks, who scored a season-high four power-play goals Monday, got three more against New York, which was 2-for-2 on its power play.

Kevin Hayes, Derick Brassard and Dan Boyle scored for New York, which rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead early in the third period.

Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh returned after missing four games with a concussion.

Shaw tied it at 3 with a shot in close off a great setup by Teuvo Teravainen at 9:53, also on a power play.

Trailing 2-0 midway through the second period, the Rangers reeled off three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead early in the third period.

Hayes started the comeback with a goal in close at 13:45 of the second period and Brassard and Boyle put New York ahead with power-play goals in a 1:53 span early in the third period.

Both power-play goals came on a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Vincent Hinostroza.

Hayes, who got his goal off a great setup by rookie Oscar Lindberg, set up Boyle go-ahead goal with a nice pass from the right corner. Brassard had tied the game at 2-all with his career-best 20th goal.

The Blackhawks had jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Desjardins and Panarin.

Chicago scored on its first shot with Teravainen making a centring pass from the right corner for a tap in by Desjardins. It was his first goal in 12 games and Teravainen’s first assist in 12.

The Rangers thought they had tied the game early in the second period when Dan Girardi beat Crawford with a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. Crawford immediately complained that Chris Kreider nudged him before the shot, the Blackhawks’ coaching staff challenged and referees Brian Pochmara and Justin St. Pierre waved the goal off after reviewing the replay.

The giveaway on the call was Kreider. He raised his stick in a rather lukewarm fashion after the goal, almost an admission he was in the wrong.

Not only did the Rangers lose the goal, their deficit increased to 2-0 midway through the period when Kreider was called for holding in the offensive zone. Late in the penalty, Panarin ripped a shot from the left face circle into the top corner with Anisimov screening Lundqvist.

While McDonagh returned, Rangers alternate captain Marc Staal was not in the lineup to be with his wife Lindsay as she gave birth to their second child, a daughter, Emily.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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