Thursday night, the Nashville Predators celebrated their first victory at home since they defeated the Tampa Lightning on February 27th. In the victory, every Predators forward registered at least one point, including Patric Hornqvist. For Hornqvist, it was important to get the win in front of the home fans.
“It was great for our fans,” said Hornqvist on the home win. “The way we did it, too. The first period was awesome for our side and after that we slowed down a bit, but we still managed the game really good. It was nice to see a couple rookies get their first goal and Weber get his 20th. It was a great game for our team and our fans.”
The win came against the Buffalo Sabres, the worst team in the National Hockey League, but as a true professional, Hornqvist knows that you can’t overlook any team.
“You have to prepare the same way,” said Hornqvist on preparing for the Sabres. “You go out there and work as hard as you can every shift and be detailed. If you do that, you have a good chance to win every night. Obviously tonight we got some bounces and our power play was working and young guys stepped up.”
One of the young players stepping up has been Calle Jarkrok. In four games with Nashville, Jarnkrok has registered four points. Thursday night, Jarnkrok recorded his first NHL goal and he’s definitely been impressing the team with his hard work.
“His work ethic is high and his skill level is great, too,” said Hornqvist on Jarkrok’s play. “He’s going to be a big part of this team for a lot of years. Four points in four games, I think that tells it all.”
It had been quite some time since the Predators converted on the power play, which seemed to be struggling ever since David Legwand was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Against the Sabres though, Nashville was able to utilize their not-so-secret weapon: Shea Weber.
“That’s what we try to do,” explained Hornqvist on getting the puck to Weber on the power play. “He has one of the hardest shots in the league. He can really find holes, too, so Cullen was good to hang on to the puck, then find Weber and it went in.”
Hornqvist understands that it’s been a season full of some ups and downs, but there are still some positives that can be taken away from the 2013-2014 season.
“The young guys stepped up,” said Hornqvist. “We really haven’t played well this season, but we have to find those small things and I like the way the young guys are playing right now.”
Building off of the surge from the young forwards, Hornqvist knows that if they continue their strong play, Nashville can finish the season on a high note. If anything, they can build confidence going into the next season by stringing together a few wins.
“We have to keep playing the same way we did tonight,” said Hornqvist. “We’re working hard, playing really detailed and scoring some goals.”
With Patric Hornqvist, he’s another player that leads by example on the ice and in the locker room. Knowing the team’s strengths and weaknesses as well as complimenting those that are performing well are the true sign of a leader. It surely shows why he’s been deserving of wearing the “A” this season as an alternate captain.
*All photos courtesy of Allyson K. Hall*