The Pittsburgh Penguins entered Sunday's action riding an 11-game win streak, and with all their stars finally back in the lineup and playing at a high level, one wondered who or what could possibly slow them down. It would appear we have our answer: Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell, whose two-goal performance handed the Penguins their first loss in a month.
The Penguins entered the third period with a 2-0 lead and looked well on their way to victory, but after Kimmo Timonen cut the lead in half just 30 seconds into the final frame, Hartnell went to work. He scored the game-tying goal just four minutes later. Then, he ended Pittsburgh's run with less than a second remaining in overtime:
The goals were the 34th and 35th of Hartnell's career year. Is 40 out of the question?
Hartnell was a thorn in the Penguins' side all game, and not just for his contributions on the scoresheet.
Theory: Chris Kunitz is secretly the White Witch of Narnia. How else to explain his blatant attempt to imprison Hartnell, who looks like a lion, in the ice? Classic White Witch. (Later, Kunitz attempted to enchant Matt Read with some Turkish delight.)
Hartnell told the referee after this scrum that, on top of attempting to squeeze his brains through his ears, Kunitz pulled his hair, proving the age-old maxim Alex Burrows once taught Duncan Keith: If your hair is easy to pull, somebody is going to pull it.
But Hartnell was undeterred. Like Aslan, King of the Beasts, Hartnell was more than willing to sacrifice his body for the greater good. "I'll take a beat-up face for a couple of goals," he said after the game. He was a one-man wrecking crew Sunday. So indiscriminate was his wrecking that he even wrecked teammate Zac Rinaldo.
Because Hartnell could do no wrong Sunday, Kris Letang left this exchange with a double minor for roughing.
At the rate Hartnell was going, you wonder if this game would have even gone to overtime if he hadn't spent the final quarter of the third period in the penalty box.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney
- Scott Hartnell
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- the Penguins
- Chris Kunitz