It's the best time of year!
Nashville Predators forward Patric Hornqvist said in the off-season that he was frustrated by an inconsistent offensive campaign in 2010-11. He had scored 30 goals the year before, but only 21 last season. After being hampered by an injured foot for most of October, the Preds hope Hornqvist can continue his current hot streak.
With seven goals in his last eight games, Hornqvist has reminded everyone that he can be an offensive catalyst when he’s at the top of his game.
“Horny has been really strong. He’s got his game going,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s sort of our version of Tomas Holmstrom from Detroit. Horny is always around the net and he’s going to get all of his goals around the net. He’s doing that and he’s getting rewarded.”
Hornqvist, who went the first seven games without recording a single point, said getting that first goal out of the way (and getting over his foot injury) was important.
“When you don’t score in the first few games, you start to get frustrated,” he said. “I wanted to get that first one so bad. It’s not like I wasn’t getting chances in the first games, but I had a hard time putting the puck in the net.”
Once Hornqvist scored his first of the season on Oct. 27 against Tampa Bay, he kept the success going by scoring in six straight games, tying a Predators franchise record. The team is 5-1-2 ever since Hornqvist’s streak started, averaging 3.7 goals per game prior to Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss against Montreal.
“We’re throwing a lot more pucks at the net, we’re skating more, we’re buzzing around the net and creating those second and third chances,” Hornqvist said of the team’s offensive success. “That’s how you score in this league. When we do that, I get more pucks to work with down low. I’ve been finding them, too, like everybody else on this team.”
The line Hornqvist has skated on in the last two games has been very effective. Against Anaheim on Wednesday, Hornqvist, Colin Wilson and Craig Smith combined for eight points. Though the trio didn’t get a point on Saturday, they combined for 10 shots and generated some chances.
“Craig and I are both shooters, while Colin is a passer, so it’s a good combination,” Hornqvist said. “Us three guys like to play the puck down low and create those second and third chances.”
The Predators hope Hornqvist can continue to score goals, and do so consistently. As proven in the last eight games, the Swede is an integral piece of the team’s lineup. Contrarily, Hornqvist hopes the team can continue its success, which he says he benefits from.
“I’m getting more confidence and the whole team is playing better,” Hornqvist said, “so it’s making it easier for me to score.”
Photo credit: Getty Images
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