It was easy to see the type of positive impact Patric Hornqvist has on games for the Nashville Predators when he made his return to the lineup on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
Hornqvist returned to the lineup and took his spot on Nashville’s top line alongside Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher. Hornqvist looked very comfortable in his return, notching one assist and accounting for four takeaways in Nashville’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Flyers.
“I felt good,” Hornqvist said. “It’s hard to play in this league if you’re not feeling 100 percent so yeah, well-rested and too bad we couldn’t get the two points.”
Hornqvist assisted on a goal by Mike Fisher that came at a crucial time for the Predators. Claude Giroux had just given the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first period, and Hornqvist was able to feed Fisher for the goal just one minute later to tie the game right back up.
“Fisher won the puck on the wall, and I got down low and just one-touched it back to him and he shot it through the D-man’s leg and the goalies leg. The goalie didn’t see anything so it was a good job by Fisher,” Hornqvist said.
Despite losing in the shootout, the Predators played a pretty good game. Hornqvist was arguably one of their best forwards. He was strong on the puck, had an assist, four takeaways and even drew a roughing penalty against Braydon Coburn.
“He played a good game tonight. He’s always battling and creating opportunities offensively. He came in and played real well after not playing for a week,” Fisher said.
Although the Predators got Hornqvist back, they were without the services of Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg and Pekka Rinne. Despite missing some very key players, the Predators were still able to salvage one point out of the game and actually played pretty well on both sides of the puck.
“I think the defense is really playing well for us. The young guys are really stepping up, and obviously the forwards played good too so it was a good team effort,” Hornqvist said.
The Predators weren’t able to score in the shootout, giving no goal support to Marek Mazanec. However, the Predators had several chances to win the game in the third period and in overtime. Colin Wilson hit a post and had a breakaway in the overtime period alone after he had scored in the third period. Nashville played well enough to win the game but weren’t able to get another goal to get the win.
“Over the 65 minutes, I think we were the better team, but that happens once in a while,” Hornqvist said. “If we can keep playing like we did tonight I know we’re going to get a lot of points down the road here.”