Playing With Hart: Flyers Get A Spark From Hartnell In Loss
Being in the right place at the right time finally paid off for Scott Hartnell this season.
Hartnell made that his living last season when he scored a team-high 37 goals. This year, he has four goals in 17 games, and had only one in the 11 games leading into last night.
Last night, Hartnell scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 30 seconds left in the Flyers 4-3 shoot-out loss to the Islanders. He even dropped the mitts with Colin McDonald, who also had two of New York's goals.
It was a huge confidence booster for Hartnell, who not only sparked his team but hopefully gave himself the confidence to score again.
"You have to play with emotion, when you play with emotion your team feeds off that," Hartnell said. "Me personally, that’s when I’m at my best, when I’m involved in the game. Whether it’s hits, mucking up in front of the net, things like that. It seemed liked the last few games we lacked a little emotion. Obviously you try and take out one of our best players, any of our players, you’re going to stick up for them."
Hartnell stuck up for defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who he said received a "high hit" from McDonald. Hartnell and McDonald exchanged pleasantries and then dropped the gloves. Hartnell won the fight.
Hartnell said another part of the reason he fought was because he's been frustrated with the lack of calls going the Flyers' way lately.
"It’s just weird, we never get a call these days," Hartnell said. "He hit an all-star, one of the best defensemen in the league, no call. [Claude] Giroux at the end, there’s no more board penalty than that, I don’t think, no call as well. The linesman had to make the call, on the faceoff, to get a 6-on-4 attack at the end. It’s frustrating that we are not getting many breaks that way, but they’re not going to hand games to us, that’s for sure."
Only two minutes before the fight, Hartnell got the Flyers on the board first. Doing what the unit does best, Giroux connected with Hartnell on a one-timer that beat Evgeni Nabokov to make it a 1-0 game.
The fact Hartnell didn't get all of the shot may have been what lead to the goal. Nabokov was in position for a harder shot his right but the puck was shot from the heel of Hartnell's stick and slowly beat Nabokov.
Hartnell's second goal of the game proved to be the timeliest of goals.
After blowing a 2-0 lead, the Flyer found themselves down 3-2 after McDonald scored with 4:23 left in the game. But in the final 90 seconds the Flyers caught a huge break when Frans Neilsen went to the box for a faceoff infraction.
After rattling off a few chances, a mad scramble in front of the net ensued. Giroux's initial shot started the scramble, and after a second attempt at the net was made, Hartnell lifted the puck over a sprawled Nabokov and into the net to tie the game up, 3-3.
Though they lost in the shoot-out, it was an encouraging game for Hartnell and his team.
They wanted two points, but got only one. Hartnell and the rest can only hope to build from there.