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game recap

Patric Hornqvist pushes Penguins past Predators

Forward scores final two of three-goal second period

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Patric Hornqvist scored twice to help the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Nashville Predators 4-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.

After Chris Kunitz and Trevor Daley built a 2-1 lead for Pittsburgh early in the second period, Hornqvist pushed it to 4-1 to continue his recent surge. He has three goals in his past two games and four in his past four.

With center Evgeni Malkin recovering from a lower-body injury, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan moved Hornqvist to first-line right wing with center Sidney Crosby.

 

WATCH: All Penguins vs. Predators highlights

 

"I think we play really well together," Hornqvist said of Crosby, who assisted on his first goal. "We know exactly where we are on the ice and I think we showed that tonight. We got some really good looks on the first shift. Almost had a tap-in on the back door. Just missed it a little bit. I think the other lines played really well too. It was a big team effort for us."

Pittsburgh (31-13-5) avoided a third straight loss.

"It was a little bit of a mixed bag," Sullivan said. "Halfway through the game, I think we gave up 12 shots. So I think that aspect of the game we really liked. … The chances we gave up, they seemed to come in flurries. But a lot of the game, we certainly made a step in the right direction."

Nashville (24-18-8) failed to extend its point streak to six games.

"We're going to have to learn from this," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "We had a streak going. We were playing really good hockey and we need to regroup, refocus and come back from this game better."

Penguins goalie Matt Murray made 37 saves to respond from losing two straight in regulation for the first time in his NHL career. He is 10-1-1 at home this season.

Calle Jarnkrok gave Nashville a 1-0 lead with 5:56 remaining in the first period before Pittsburgh scored four straight. The flurry began on Kunitz's sixth goal of the season with 3:41 left in the first.

Daley gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead 3:10 into the second period. The goal, which came on a slap shot shortly after a failed power play, was Daley's fifth of the season, second in five games.

Hornqvist extended it to 3-1 when he snuck a wraparound between Pekka Rinne's right skate and the left post with 8:53 remaining in the second.

Hornqvist scored again when Nick Bonino shot off Austin Watson to him in front of the crease, where he held off Matt Irwin and shot off Rinne's glove. Hornqvist's 14th goal made it 4-1 with 3:48 left in the second.

Colin Wilson made it 4-2 with a power-play goal at 3:18 of the third period.

 

Goal of the game

Carl Hagelin chipped a pass off the far wall to Daley skating through the neutral zone. The defenseman drove toward Rinne and put a slap shot under his glove to give Pittsburgh the lead.

Video: NSH@PIT: Daley cranks a top-shelf slapper

 

Save of the game

Rinne temporarily prevented Pittsburgh from extending its lead to 3-1 early in the second period after Bonino found Phil Kessel at the top of the right circle. Kessel shot through traffic, but Rinne absorbed it to freeze the puck at 6:44.

 

Highlight of the game

Crosby led a 2-on-1 with Kessel about 7:00 into the second period. After Crosby faked a slap shot that caused Mattias Ekholm to drop to the ice and slide by, he passed to Kessel near the right post. Kessel lifted his stick with the puck hitting off his skate, causing him to fall and miss the quality chance.

 

Unsung performance of the game

Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta, who failed to make a clear which led to Nashville's first goal, bounced back to block four shots and help the Penguins preserve their lead in the third period.

 

They said it

"He's annoying against me in practice. … He's good at getting under the opponents' skin." -- Penguins goalie Matt Murray on Patric Hornqvist

 

"First period, I thought that we played hard, but turned the puck over. … Second period, we were awful. We didn't skate. We didn't compete." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette

 

Need to know

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned from a lower-body injury sustained Jan. 14 against the Detroit Red Wings. He played 23:45, which led Pittsburgh. … Penguins forward Carter Rowney played 9:20 in his NHL debut. … Predators forward Mike Ribeiro was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

 

What's next

Predators: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, SNW, NHL.TV)

Penguins: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, ROOT, FS-O, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Hornqvist's pair of goals lead Penguins in 4-2 win

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