Chicago Blackhawks forward Ryan Hartman is not really much of a goal scorer.
It’s not that he’s a bad player, it’s just that goal scoring isn’t really something that is a big part of his game. Entering play on Sunday he had scored just seven goals in 45 NHL games, after scoring just 31 goals in 169 American Hockey League games over the past three seasons.
That is part of what makes his hat trick in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday evening so surprising.
What made it weird is the way he ended up getting it, because there was nothing conventional about it.
The first thing we need to point out about it: It was a natural hat trick that featured him scoring three consecutive goals in the third period. With less than 10 minutes to play in regulation he had yet to score a goal on the day in what was at the time a 2-2 tie.
With 8:11 to play in the he helped break that tie when he scored his first of the game (and eighth of the season) by doing this…
That is Hartman going to the front of the net and getting credit for the goal because it apparently bounced off of him as he and Mike Weber collided in front of the net. That play had to be reviewed to make sure Hartman legally put the puck in the net, and it was determined that he did in fact do that.
Then, with less than two minutes to play in regulation and the Predators trying to tie the score, they pulled goaltender Pekka Rinne for the extra attacker which presented Hartman with the opportunity to score his second goal of the game and add an insurance marker for the Blackhawks into the empty net.
Still thinking the Predators had a chance to rally and tie the game after that, coach Peter Laviolette pulled Rinne again for the extra attacker which set the stage for, you guessed it, another Ryan Hartman empty net goal to complete the natural hat trick.
If you are scoring at home that is one awkward goal off of a weird bounce in front that had to be reviewed, then two empty net goals.
As if his night wasn’t strange enough, one of Nashville’s two goals was scored when it bounced in the net off of Hartman.
He was at the center of pretty much everything on Sunday.