In Sunday’s tilt with the Washington Capitals, Patric Hornqvist continued working his magic right from his very first shift.
“We know what it’s all about in the playoffs and hopefully we have a really fun run,” he said before the game. That mindset definitely carried through to his play.
The impactful Swede, unsurprisingly, is still fully engaged, and used that to his advantage in the 3-1 loss – he was the only Penguin to find the back of the net (while also adding six shots on goal and five hits).
That goal marked his 27th of the season, a career high with the Penguins. Hornqvist also whistled the tune of his own music in front of Phillip Grubauer’s net all night long, pestering both the Capitals net-minder and defensemen. As usual, he was the main guy involved in most of the net-front scrums. He and Brooks Orpik went at it all night; if you missed it, it was quite the show to watch.
I believe Cheyenne, Wyoming might be the only capital Patric Hornqvist hasn't enraged tonight.— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) April 2, 2018
It goes without saying that March has been a hugely productive month for Hornqvist, and he may not be receiving the credit he deserves. After signing his five-year contract extension, Hornqvist has produced 14 points (nine goals and five assists) in the first month of spring. It’s true that much of his success does come on the powerplay (he has 15 tallies on the man-advantage, good for second in the NHL behind Patrik Laine), but he’s been a huge reason as to why Pittsburgh’s goals per game average is at a high marker. The team is ranked sixth in the league at 3.3 a contest.
Hornqvist has gone on record saying he wasn’t worried about the final stretch of the season, and followed suit in the game against the New Jersey Devils, putting out a textbook “Hornqvist-like” performance. He had the game-tying goal in that tilt and rounded it out with four hits, an assist, and four shots on goal, plus a little extra smack-talking that absolutely infuriated the Devils bench. It seems like he’s really rounding into playoff form.
Same deal goes for both the game against the Flyers last week — Hornqvist added another powerplay goal then as well. It was then he surpassed Bryan Hextall for 42nd place on the franchise’s career scoring list — as well as each of the Montreal games, the first in which he recorded three points (two goals and an assist). In the second tilt, his goal came off a feed from Justin Schultz that Hornqvist stuck his stick up in the air to call for. He’s so dialed in.
The playoffs are just a little over a week away, and Hornqvist is known for turning on the jets during postseason play and playing his role perfectly. In the 2017 Stanley Cup run, he recorded nine points (five goals, four assists), including that oh so, very famous championship-winning shot off Pekka Rinne. He also put up 44 shots on goal during that 16-game period.
Hornqvist is an irreplaceable pitbull that oozes a passion unlike many other players, and if he’s already pissing off his opposition in the regular season, I can’t wait to see what he stirs up in the playoffs. It’s going to be a wild ride, with him at the helm of all the chaos.