Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hornqvist Denied Hat Trick but Leads Predators to 5-2 Win over Carolina

Patric Hornqvist led the Nashville Predators to a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night in front of a record setting eighth straight sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

Hornqvist scored two power play goals on seven shots and was denied his first career hat trick when a video review on a goal thought to be credited to him was ruled invalid by the "war room" at the NHL in Toronto midway through the final period.

Hornqvist was not upset about missing the hat trick. "They got the best camera's in the league so I'm pretty sure it was the right call. A hat trick is a big thing so hopefully it will come sooner or later."

Describing the play, Hornqvist said, "I got it with my skate and then I thought I got it with my stick so I have no idea. They have the best replay cameras in the rink so I'm pretty sure it was not a goal."

Barry Trotz also commented on the hats that found their way onto the ice. "I was asking if people get their hats back. Hornqvist was really strong. He makes his living in those dirty areas, and he can really make it hard for goaltenders."

Despite having seven shots, neither of Hornqvist's other two goals were on routine type shots. "One was off my shin-pad and the other one I saw the goalie didn't have it there, so I poked it from the goalie.  Fisher and Erat put it right on the goal line for me.  I was on my back and I saw it, so I fired it to the back of the net."

The Predators were four of five on the power play after going 0-16 in the previous five games. In addition to  Hornqvist's two man-advantage markers, rookies Ryan Ellis and Craig Smith also had power play goals. It was Ellis's first NHL goal and Smith's first goal in 15 games. Mike Fisher had three assists on the power play.

Trotz was pleased with the improved play on the man-advantage after that had been a focus in practice during the past week. "I think we got a away from our work ethic and execution, all of the little details that you need and then you need a little bit of puck luck and tonight we had a little bit of all three."

"We had work ethic, we had execution, and we had puck luck. The power play made a big statement coming back after a little bit of a dry spell. That’s just what happens in the season sometimes."

Shea Weber had the other Predator goal 9:14 into the first period to open the evening's scoring. Trotz was pleased to see the captain get back into the scoring mix. "We were playing really well when Weber was out.  What happens a lot of times when you get one of your top players back is that everyone exhales and thinks since he’s back he’ll take care of it, but it’s still a team game."

Pekka Rinne appeared headed for his fourth shutout of the season but a pair of third period goals from Carolina's Jay Harrison ended that possibility. Rinne's win was his 20th of the season. Rookie Jeremy Smith backed up Rinne for his first game to suit up in the NHL.

The Predators will take Sunday off and return to practice on Monday as they prepare for a home and away series against the Avalanche that start's Tuesday in Colorado and Concludes at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass

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