TAMPA, Fla. – When it comes to the fickle nature of goal scoring in the NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist has lived at both ends of the spectrum this season.
Remember his natural hat trick in the third period of a 6-3 Penguins win over Colorado on Dec. 4? The net must have looked the size of a garage door to him that night.
Nowadays, though, the cage looks smaller than Sidney Crosby’s mom’s dryer. Since returning from a concussion Jan. 19, Hornqvist has gone without a point over his last seven games.
Hornqvist said the concussion has not lingered or disrupted his timing. He’s getting his shots – 22 of them over the past seven games. He has no explanation for the drought other than his scoring touch going cold.
“It’s just the puck doesn’t go in for me right now,” Hornqvist said Friday. “Everyone goes through these kinds of stretches. You just have to stay with it and stick with it. There’s a reason why you’re playing here. You’ve been scoring goals before. You just have to stay with it and don’t get frustrated.”
Hornqvist is one of the more consistent scorers in the NHL, having recorded five straight 20-goal seasons. Coach Mike Sullivan expressed no desire to see Hornqvist change his game in any way in an effort to end the slump.
‘Horny tends to be a streak guy offensively,” Sullivan said. “If one can go in the net for him, they tend to come in bunches with him. He tends to be that type of a player. He’s just got to play his game. He’s got to get in on the forecheck. He’s got to wreak havoc in front of the net. That’s when Horny’s at his best. He’s a bull in a china closet.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.