Just a little over five minutes into the first period of the Penguins’ home opener, Patric Hornqvist scored his first goal as a Pittsburgh Penguin. It didn’t make TSN’s Top 10, nor was it probably anywhere close to being considered for ESPN’s Top 10 in the states, but it did make a big statement on behalf of Hornqvist.
“Obviously nice to get the first out of the way,” Hornqvist said. “I didn’t see that it went in, but I saw Sid raise his hand up.”
Maybe not the biggest post-game statement, but the goal certainly meant a lot to everyone; the fans, the coaches, and probably most of all, General Manager Jim Rutherford. The man who traded a sniper in James Neal to the Nashville Predators for some net-front presence in Hornqvist and some grit and depth in Nick Spaling.
In two games, Hornqvist has opened up the scoring with some quick shots with no other intention than to hit the net. In years past, such goals would have only come by the likes of Chris Kunitz, Hornqivst’s current line mate along with Sidney Crosby. Both goals were not from the most perfect or prettiest angles, but Hornqvist’s rocket of a shot has beaten two goaltenders in two straight games.
Not bad after “losing” a 40 goal scorer in James Neal.
Hornqvist has also contributed with a power play assist in his last two games.
While it is a little early to start declaring a winner and loser of the trade that brought Hornqvist to Pittsburgh, it is certainly early enough to say that Hornqvist will be a big difference maker for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season.