Spring training is underway for Major League Baseball and Patric Hornqvist may be lobbying for a position on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hornqvist scored his 18th goal of the season, and no doubt his best, when he batted an air born puck with a baseball-style swing for what would prove to be the game-winner in a 4-0 victory against the Florida Panthers at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Much of the credit goes Phil Kessel on the play for having the presence of mind and creativity to flip the puck from behind the net into the slot. From there, Hornqvist drifted onto the scene to crush the home run.
Teammate Sidney Crosby has scored a few goals this season using the baseball swing. He was impressed with Hornqvist's technique.
"He's done that in practice and does it messing around," Crosby said. "It's nice it came into play. You don't see a play like that too often, but great hand-eye and a big goal to get us going."
In fact, Hornqvist actually scored in a similar fashion during warmups. Per tradition, before the team can break warmups they have to score a goal. It's everybody vs. the goaltender - Marc-Andre Fleury in this case.
Fleury had a preview of what was to come.
"That's how he scored the last goal in warmup," Fleury said. "Hornqvist did the same thing. Flipped over the net and he smashed it in.
"It's not luck. These guys are very skilled and they can put it in."
Video: FLA@PIT: Hornqvist knocks home puck out of mid-air