The Penguins and Capitals renewed their rivalry tonight with a familiar result. The Penguins came out on top to improve to 2-1-1. Here are the Three Takeaways.
Hornqvist Down and Dirty
You saw my tweet. I’d rather have Patric Hornqvist as the net front presence on the first powerplay as opposed to Jake Guentzel. Hornqvist does all of the work and is a pest to opposing goalies. He proved to be Braden Holtby‘s kryptonite in this game. With two powerplay points, Hornqvist reasserted himself back into the lineup where the Penguins desperately missed him. His first assist on the powerplay was just classic Hornqvist putting his stick towards the puck near the crease and it popped out to Kris Letang for his first of the season. His second one was again classic Hornqvist at the net-front and putting it home. We’ve got our heart and soul back and it is a great thing to see.
Special Teams Looks Great
The Penguins penalty kill was supposed to be the weakest piece of the team after the losses of Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen. It has been a pleasant surprise. They are now 17 of 18 on the year and those seventeen have come after their first attempt of the year was a fail. The power play was a scorching 3-for-5 tonight. The Penguins scored three goals. That is getting big production out of your power play. The Penguins likely won’t continue to overachieve killing penalties but it is encouraging that they are holding their own.
Bryan Rust had an assist on the score sheet tonight. But this is more of a naked eye observation. Rust was flying tonight. I noticed him beat a few guys to some loose pucks despite having to make up some ground. This is nothing new. Rust is always one of the quicker players on the ice. Tonight, there was a bit extra juice in that stride.