Another game for the Penguins, and another goal thanks to the offensive zone catalyst that is Patric Hornqvist. His work away from the puck is relentless, and was a direct reason why Phil Kessel was afforded the space created to score his goal. Let's take a look at the sequence of events and the Penguins goal.
With the Penguins on the power-play, a puck was dumped/directed towards the Ducks net. It started when Patric Hornqvist got tied up in front of the net with goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The play was allowed to continue on, because their being tangled up didn't affect the play at all. After Hornqvist and Bernier were back on their feet, the puck came to the corner.
Kessel wins a 50/50 puck against Jakob Silfverberg and chips the puck along the boards back towards the net.
At this point, it appears that Josh Manson is well-positioned to be able to take possession of the loose puck and possibly even clear the zone.
However, the typical pain-in-the-ass that he is, Patric Hornqvist had other ideas. He presses Manson into turning the puck over and getting possession back for the Penguins.
Here, you can see that the Ducks might already in trouble with their PK setup. Silfverberg was chasing out to the point, with two players left to cover one Penguin near the slot area.
When the puck came to Kessel, he held the puck and surveyed the situation before shifting his weight to drive towards the net, probably shocked to see how much space that the Ducks were affording someone of his skill level.
Here, you can see the problems for the Ducks. Manson and Hornqvist were still tied up in the corner. Silfverberg had gone to the point to cover. And Nick Bonino occupied both Cam Fowler and Ryan Kesler in front, leaving an entire side of the ice for Phil Kessel to push closer to the net for a shot.
Now this is a bold strategy, giving Kessel this chance to shoot on net. He blew it through Bernier's five-hole before he ever had a chance to realize what was going on.
It's the type of goal that the Penguins should always score, capitalizing on that type of time and space, given the Penguins skill players. But this play would not have ever been possible if it weren't for the ridiculous effort from Patric Hornqvist to gain possession of the puck from Manson.
It's only the second game of the season, but just like I said in my breakdown of the Pens-Caps game, it's very nice to see how the Penguins work rate is top-notch this early in the season on plays like this.
Phil Kessel for President.