Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hornqvist Sticks to Usual Pattern Irritates Former Team with Work near the Net, Knocks in Two More Goals in Latest Chapter Penguins 4, Predators 2

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hornqvist Sticks to Usual Pattern Irritates Former Team with Work near the Net, Knocks in Two More Goals in Latest Chapter Penguins 4, Predators 2

Article excerpt

Patric Hornqvist felt he got lucky with the two goals he scored in the Penguins' 4-2 victory Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators at PPG Paints Arena.

You'll need some luck, and perhaps a lot of it, to convince any of his teammates to buy what Hornqvist is selling.

Hornqvist isn't lucky. He's good at what he does. Perhaps the best in the league, a modern-day Tomas Holmstrom, who happens to be one of Hornqvist's idols. Hornqvist served as the Penguins' Swedish spark this night, helping them emerge from the All-Star break in full force and snap a two-game losing skid.

"He's annoying against me in practice," goalie Matt Murray said. "We have our battles. That's what he's good at. He's good at getting under the opponents' skin.

"He's got a really good stick in front of the net. He's not afraid to go there and take a few cross-checks or slashes or whatever it may be. He's a warrior for us all the time. I can't say enough about all these guys and 'Horny' especially."

It's not as though the Penguins needed a boost after the first period - coach Mike Sullivan said he was perfectly fine with the way the opening 20 minutes unfolded - but Hornqvist two goals in a span of 5:05 didn't hurt.

It enabled the Penguins assume a 4-1 lead, enough cushion to push their record to 31-13-5, their home mark to 21-3-2. They're now 58-0 since the start of last season when leading after two periods and winners of eight in a row in the first game back from the All-Star break.

As Murray said, Hornqvist's stick work and willingness to battle in front of the net made it happen.

His first goal came after Sidney Crosby smartly banked a pass off the boards behind Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. Hornqvist took it and quickly scored on a wraparound.

A gorgeous deke complemented by swift skating? No. A blast like Trevor Daley unleashed in the first period to tie the game at 1? No again.

The type of stuff Hornqvist can do with his stick and in tight spaces is subtle . and that's about the only thing about him that fits that description.

Every other time, Hornqvist is irritating the daylights out of a goaltender or jawing with a defenseman. …

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