Posts tagged Patric Hornqvist
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.
The Nashville Predators put their six-game winning streak on the line tonight when they host Vancouver at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville’s recent success seems to fall on the number three, three goals for the Predators. Nashville’s 4-2 win against Dallas on Saturday was the 17th consecutive time Nashville won when scoring three or more goals. The Predator’s season record for scoring three or more goals in a game is 38-4-1.
While the numbers are pretty clear, Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz says contributions from all four lines have been key. “I give a lot of credit right through out lineup,” Trotz said, adding “Go back through the six games — every line has contributed over this stretch.”
Forward Jordin Tootoo agrees, “We got dynamic players in this dressing room that can change the pace of the game and can change things around. We count on each other to get the job done, night in and night out.”
When the Nashville Predators visited San Jose on March 8th, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said “I hear there is consideration of Rinne for the Hart. I wouldn’t argue that.”
The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player who is considered to be the most valuable to his team.
In the New York Times“Morning Skate” on March 21, Christopher Botta wrote “Pekka Rinne deserves consideration to be the third man when the finalists are announced. The Nashville goaltender is as valuable to the Predators as any player — forward, defenseman or goalie — is to his team.” Steven Stamkos and Daniel Sedin are considered the favorites.
In the NHL, teams can win games on the strength of their power play. The penalty kill, likewise, can keep a team in games. For the Nashville Predators, while their penalty kill has improved steadily from the start of the season, the power play has gone in the other direction. Through 21 games, Nashville has scored 9 power play goals in 78 opportunities — but two of them came Friday afternoon when the team was already losing 4-0 in the third period to the Wild.
It is too early to know if the late efforts from Nashville on Friday will act as a turning point in sparking the Predators offense. But one thing is for certain, when you struggle to score goals at even strength, the man advantage can be a real difference maker. And the Predators have struggled to score goals as of late, scoring just 3 times in the last three games.
When asked about the Predators scoring woes, Coach Barry Trotz said “One of the biggest mistakes that the Nashville Predators make is when we say well we got to score lots of goals. All of a sudden we are not Nashville Predator-like and therefore we will lose 6-4 or something like that. That’s not the way we play. Our team identity is that we play solid team defense as a group and piggy back some of our offense off of that.”
In 15 games, Patric Hornqvist has 5 goals and 3 assists for 8 points. He averages 16:43 minutes of ice time per game. On most nights, you can find Hornqvist parked in front of his opponent’s goalie. Hornqvist sets up screens, so shots will get by the goalie. Hornqvist ties up defenders, opening up space and potential shooting lanes for teammates. And of course, you can find the Swede looking to tip in shots or fighting for rebounds to stuff in the back of the net.
Head coach Barry Trotz says that “his competitive nature is tremendous.”
It is easy to assume that playing against Hornqvist can be a source of frustration for opponents, when asked if he thought Hornqvist got picked on a little more than usual Saturday night, Trotz was clear that his player doesn’t get hassled by opponents.
In the September 27th edition of The Hockey News, the magazine ranked the top 20 players in each position. With the strength of the Predators back end, it is no surprise that Pekka Rinne comes in at number 12 on the top goalies list. Tomas Vokoun is listed at no. 9. It is also no surprise that defensive partners Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are ranked 7th and 12th respectively. Only Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia also had more than one defensemen to make the top 20 list. Former Predator Kimmo Timonen ranks in just behind Suter at no. 13. To date, Nashville hasn’t been known for producing top scoring threats, but Patric Hornqvist landed in at number 15 on the top 20 players at the position of right wing.
Being listed in the company of the likes of Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, the Capitals Alexander Semin, as well as San Jose’s Dany Heatley, Hornqvist finds himself in with some pretty elite company. When asked about the rankings, Hornqvist was surprised to be included but determined to prove he belongs on the list. “Of course that surprises me” Hornqvist said, adding “I’m happy for that. It gets some more pressure on my shoulders.”