Hartman leads Blackhawks to 5-2 win against Predators
CHICAGO – Ryan Hartman's first career hat trick was a memorable one, all right. Hard to top three goals in eight-plus minutes without making a move on a goalie.
Hartman scored off a goalmouth scramble in the third period and tacked on two empty-netters, helping the Chicago Blackhawks beat the banged-up Nashville Predators 5-2 on Sunday night.
"It's not really how you draw it up when you think about getting a hat trick, but they don't ask how, so I'll take it," he said.
Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won the first three of a four-game homestand. Patrick Kane added three assists, running his team-best total to 32 in 43 games, and Corey Crawford made 25 saves.
Hartman was credited with his eighth of the season at 11:49 when Richard Panik's shot created a scrum in front of the net, and the referees ruled the puck was deflected in legally and crossed the line before the goal was dislodged. Hartman said it went off his left hip while he battled Nashville defenseman Yannick Weber for position.
The tiebreaking goal stood after a video review.
"For me it had to do with whether or not he took his hand off the stick and batted it into the net," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was difficult to tell, but certainly there was that motion that he did it. But I guess you can't tell in the end whether or not he actually he did it."
The Predators pulled Pekka Rinne for an extra attacker with 1:39 left, and Hartman added two more to run his total to 10 goals on the season, good for fifth on the team.
"He's been a big player for us this year," Kane said. "He's been very productive for us this year."
Nashville lost for the third time in four games. Mattias Ekholm and Austin Watson scored for the Predators, and Rinne finished with 26 stops.
The Predators played without defenseman P.K. Subban and forwards James Neal, Colin Wilson and Viktor Arvidsson. Subban has been out since Dec. 15 with an upper-body injury, and Neal was placed on injured reserve Saturday with an upper-body injury. Arvidsson missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury, and Wilson was inactive after he left Friday's 2-1 loss at Florida with a lower-body injury.
But Nashville was in position to possibly steal one on the road before Hartman's closing flurry. The Predators tied it at 2 early in the third when Mike Fisher's shot got past Crawford and went off the post before Watson poked it in.
Defenseman Ryan Ellis had a shot go off the right post about 5 1/2 minutes into the third, and the Predators had a couple more prime scoring opportunities in the final period.
"It's frustrating, but we can only look to each other and hopefully get more effort and more consistency and hopefully some success with that," Ellis said.
Chicago jumped in front in the first when Kane skated into the middle of the Nashville zone and passed it over to Panarin, who drove a one-timer over Rinne's right shoulder from the outside of the left circle at 7:45.
Panarin, who also scored in Friday night's 2-1 win against Carolina, nearly picked up a second goal in the second, but Rinne got over for a terrific left pad save. The Russian winger has 20 points in his last 18 games.
Nashville bounced right back after Panarin's 17th of the season, tying it at 1 just 45 seconds later. Fisher made a nice pass to Ekholm, who beat Crawford from the left circle for his second goal of the season.
NOTES: Hjalmarsson has a career-high five goals. ... Fisher has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last five games against Chicago. ... It was Joel Quenneville's 1,500th regular-season game as an NHL head coach. He is 389-194-78 in nine seasons with Chicago. ... Actor Bill Murray attended the game.
Predators: Host Vancouver on Tuesday night.
Blackhawks: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap