Every hockey-playing kid has probably dreamed of recording a hat trick. The dream probably features every goal scored in dramatic or stylish fashion, hats reigning down after it’s complete.
For Ryan Hartman, that first career NHL hat trick was complete thanks to two empty-net goals. OK, probably not the way he would’ve drawn it up but you better believe he’ll take it.
Hartman tallied a hat trick, which included a reviewed game-winner and two empty-net goals, as the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Sunday night. It was the third victory in a row for the Blackhawks, who remain atop the Western Conference.
Artemi Panarin scored his 17th goal of the season and Niklas Hjalmarsson added his fifth, a career high for a season for the defenseman. Corey Crawford stopped 25 of 27 shots for the victory.
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But the story was Hartman, who continues to be one of the Blackhawks’ top rookies this season.
“I didn’t know he got that second one, so going out for the faceoff there at the end, I just kind of looked at him and asked if he had two goals. He said, ‘Yeah,’ so good for him,” said Patrick Kane, who had three assists, including the primary one on Hartman’s third goal. “He’s been a big player for us this year and he’s been very productive. He plays a good style of hockey that we’ve kind of been missing for a little bit. He’s physical, he draws penalties and it seems like he’s always on the puck. He’s had a great season so far.”
Hartman’s biggest goal was his first one, a net-front deflection in which the puck crossed the line as the net was coming out of its moorings. Called a goal on the ice, it was reviewed and deemed a good goal. As the NHL situation room stated:
Video review confirmed that the puck deflected off the body of Chicago's Ryan Hartman and into the net in a legal fashion, before the net was dislodged. According to Rule 78.4 "If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed". Good goal Chicago.
Hartman, who scored a slick goal against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night, felt more like himself on this one.
“I think goals like tonight are a little more like me. I don’t know about the other night,” Hartman said. “It’s nice to get a couple of those where you don’t really use your stick and they kind of go off you.”
Corey Crawford said Hartman deserved that kind of ending, considering his block on Mattias’ Ekholm’s shot not long before Hartman’s first goal.
“Quick play out front and a one-timer right in the slot, [Hartman] sacrificed, went down blocking it comes back and he gets a hat trick,” Crawford said. “Everyone’s happy for him. he played awesome.”
Hartman’s first empty-net goal was a longer-distance shot that line mate Richard Panik was close to as it crossed the line. But Panik said he didn’t touch it.
“My first thought was, ‘I can’t take this from him,’” Panik said with a smile. “I was just trying to play the [defense] and it went in.”
Hartman’s hat trick probably wasn’t how he drew it up in his head but it was effective nonetheless. The Blackhawks are back on the right track following a slump around the holidays, and contributions like that are part of it.
“It’s a long season. There are going to be times when things don’t go your way and you don’t get bounces. There are games where the other team just plays well,” Crawford said. “[It’s just] sticking to it, not letting anything bother you, and keep playing the way you can.”