Hornqvist’s first goal of season frustrates Garon, Boucher in Predators 5-3 win over Tampa Bay
Nashville won its first home game of the season on Thursday night when the Predators put five pucks behind Mathieu Garon to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 in front of 16 619 in attendance at Bridgestone Arena.
With the game tied at two after the first period, Patric Hornqvist scored his first goal of the season on a feed from Matt Halischuk.
“It was great forechecking by [Matt] Halischuk and [Blake] Geoffrion. They created the turnover. Geoffrion tried to shoot it and it ended up on the stick of Halischuk. He made a great play to me. I had an empty net. It was nice to get that first goal out of the way,” Hornqvist said.
Not everyone agreed it was a good goal.
Garon was tripped on the play. “He clipped me behind the net and tripped me and the ref told me he didn’t see it. Sometimes they don’t see it, so it happens. It’s frustrating but you’ve got to forget about it and focus on the next one. I’ve got to make some saves. If I make a couple more saves, it’s a different game. I’ve got to be better than that,” he said.
Tampa Bay’s head coach, Guy Boucher was also frustrated with the Hornqvist goal.
“It was 2-2 and that third goal really hurt us. It’s funny because it’s only one goal, but it hit the ref in the back, it’s the same time their guy tripped our goaltender, so our goaltender’s struggling to get back and they score on that. So it’s a little bit of bad luck, but we should’ve been keeping it closer,” Boucher said.
Hornqvist said it was a relief to get that first goal of the season. “You always want to score early in the season and get that going. When you are not scoring you get a little frustrated. Now that is out of my way I am going to keep working hard and hopefully score some more goals.”
Hornqvist is one of the higher paid Predators on the team making just over $3 million this season. Predators head coach Barry Trotz says he expects offensive production from the right wing.
“We need some production from Patric. He got his goal right in front, just going to the net hard. We got that because of good fortune. We stayed on the puck there. They turned it over, and we capitalized,” Trotz said.
Going hard to the net is how Hornqvist has made his name in the NHL, hanging around the crease of his opponents. But hanging out in front of the net comes with a punishment, and Hornqvist suffered a foot injury in Nashville’s second game of the season and had not been 100%.
Hornqvist does not use his foot injury as an excuse for it taking 8 games to score his first goal of the season. “I’ve been feeling good for the last five or six days. That’s not an issue,” he said.
The Predators opened scoring with two goals in the first period with Sergei Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher scored. The Lightning tied the goal with two quick goals from Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell in the final five minutes of the opening frame to even things up.
It was all Nashville in the second period with goals from Hornqvist, Nick Spaling and a second goal from Fisher.
In the third period, Stamkos got his second goal of the night for Tampa Bay with just 3 minutes left in regulation.
Kostitsyn left the game in the second period after being shoved awkwardly into the boards. After the game Trotz said that he was optimistic Kostitsyn would be able to play Saturday night against the Ducks.
Nashville will try to win two straight on Saturday night when the Predators host the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks last played in Nashville during the Western Conference quarter finals, a series Nashville won 4-2.
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