Ill-timed goals put Penguins in hole, Patric Hornqvist says
When the Pittsburgh Penguins were stuck in the depths of a November swoon, winger Patric Hornqvist was always the player in the locker room putting things in perspective.
It would only take one shift or one goal to turn it around, he said on numerous occasions.
These days, the Penguins are mired in another slump. It’s not nearly as deep as the previous one, but a 5-7-0 record since an eight-game winning streak ended Jan. 6 certainly isn’t a good look.
This time, Hornqvist has a little different outlook. It’s going to take a few shifts in succession to turn things around.
“It feels like we’re one and done and it’s hard to win that way,” Hornqvist said after a 4-0 loss to Carolina on Tuesday night. “We just have to get a few shifts in a row, feel good about ourselves and then we’ll start coming.”
Hornqvist said he thought the turning point in Tuesday’s game came in the final minute of a scoreless first period. At one end, Jaccob Slavin picked off a Phil Kessel centering pass. At the other end, a Jordan Martinook shot hit the leg of defender Tanner Pearson and eluded goalie Matt Murray.
“Today’s a typical game when you don’t play your best. You always seem to give up those timely goals and those always suck the momentum out of you,” Hornqvist said.
Hornqvist has no time for the suggestion that the Penguins need to bide their time until key players Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz return from injury.
“Since I’ve been here, five years now, we’ve always been able to battle through injuries,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s injured. We still have enough guys in here who can step up. We just have to find it. When things don’t go your way, control what you can control. You can control your work ethic and control your attitude. Bring that every single night and we’ll be fine.”
Hornqvist is agreeable to the suggestion that the Penguins need some time to come together after a trade for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann last week significantly reshaped their personnel up front.
“We try to find our identity a little bit,” Hornqvist said. “We’ve got some new guys. I think they’ve done a really good job for us. Really good adds so far. Sometimes it takes time. Right now, we just have to go back in the playbook and play simple and hard.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at email@example.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .