Scott Hartnell scored five goals in two games over the weekend, and I'm truthfully, honestly not sure how he did that. Not that Hartnell didn't deserve it or anything -- that's not what I mean at all. It's that three of those goals were EXACTLY THE SAME, and you'd think the opposition would be able to figure this out by now.
On Saturday in New Jersey:
And on Sunday against the Bruins at home:
But that's not even the start of it. It's one thing when three of the five goals come on the exact same play -- a feed from Claude Giroux on the wall to Hartnell in the slot, where he just puts the puck up over the goalie's shoulder. It's another thing when all five goals come from the exact same spot on the ice.
(As an aside, can we talk about how awesome everybody on that line was on this play? Giroux has a great keep near the blueline, one he had to leap to make. Brayden Schenn does a great job of chipping the puck in on the play and using the body to take Johnny Boychuk out, and the extra space allowed Hartnell the time to grab the puck out of the air and score the goal. From his favorite spot.)
On Sunday's other goal, Hartnell didn't put it in the net with a shot, but he was credited with the goal on a deflection. And guess where he was on the ice when he tipped it past Martin Brodeur?
Hartnell didn't score against the Islanders on Thursday, but dating back to last week against Minnesota, he scored from the same spot on a deflection in that game, too. His last six goals have come from the exact same spot on the ice.
Hartnell scores a lot of goals in the slot, but he tends to pitch his tent closer to the crease, not on the hash mark like he's been doing the last few games. In fact, I quickly went through and watched all of his goals so far this season. Before the Minnesota game, he only had one goal that came from that spot on the ice.
Most of his other goals have been deflections from right at the top of the crease or diving pokes on 2-on-1's or, on the odd occasion, awesome snipes. Scoring goals from that exact spot has been new for Hartnell over the last few games -- and it's so obvious that we'll assume teams are going to start taking notice.