January 8, 2017
Sunday night’s 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators had a little something for everybody. We saw an ungodly one-timer, a handful of big saves, a couple goal posts hit and one of the strangest hat tricks you will ever see.
Artemi Panarin opened the scoring for the Blackhawks at 7:45 of the first period. Patrick Kane gained the zone and the attention of four Nashville defenders before deferring to a wide open Panarin at the left boards. Even though he wasn’t at the greatest angle, Panarin still fired off a one-timer that somehow found the corner of the near side of the net. Brian Campbell picked up the secondary assist on Panarin’s 17th goal of the season.
With what seems to be the norm between these two teams, the Predators answered just 45 seconds later. After a turnover in the neutral zone, Mike Fisher played give-and-go with Mattias Ekholm who beat Corey Crawford with a wrist shot from the left circle.
Niklas Hjalmarsson gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead with his career high fifth goal of the year at the 14:05 mark. Hjalmarsson fired a shot from the point through heavy traffic, including a screen by Artem Anisimov, in behind Pekka Rinne who never had a chance to see the shot. Duncan Keith and Kane had the assists on the play.
After a scoreless second period, Austin Watson tied the game two minutes into the third period. Watson was left all alone at the front of the net and was able to get to a rebound off a Mike Fisher shot for his second tally on the year.
Ryan Hartman gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead with a strange goal at 11:49. The rebound off a shot from the slot by Richard Panik popped straight up and was put into the net as Hartman battled Yannik Weber at the side of the net. The play was reviewed to see if both the puck was put into the net legally and if it crossed the goal line before the net came loose. Both were confirmed after a lengthy look at the replay. Tanner Kero picked up his first point of the season with the secondary assist.
Hartman would complete his first career hat trick with not one, but two empty net goals late in regulation. The first was unassisted while Kane and Hjalmarsson assisted on the second.
The Blackhawks will go for their fourth straight win when the host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.