The line of Jason Arnott-JP Dumont-Steve Sullivan was able to dominate on any given shift during tonight's 5-0 win over the Thrashers, combining for a goal in each of the first two periods. But Predators fans have come to expect that.
But, perhaps the most impressive development from the first preseason game was the performance of the Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson. With Marting Erat and David Legwand sitting the game out, the Hornqvist and Wilson duo impressively filled the secondary scoring role, combining for five points (one goal and four assists). The duo was paired together for the majority of the game and continually controlled the play regardless of their other linemate. They opened the game with Ben Eaves and promptly generated the game’s opening goal. In the second period they took shifts with Peter Olvecky and continued to generate quality scoring chances, before generating a pair of third period goals with Ryan Jones on the wing.
Hornqvist had a game-high seven shots on goal and provided a key screen in front of goaltender Drew MacIntyre to help create Teemu Laakso’s game opening goal. He capped his night with assists on both of the team's third period goals.Wilson posted a three point night, assisting on Laakso’s goal and Shea Weber’s early third period tally before netting a goal of his own 4:40 into the third frame. He provided a consistent physical presence throughout the game, showed strong puck possession skills, and even showcased his penalty kill ability during Thrashers power-play opportunities in the second and third periods.
Both Hornqvist and Wilson come from a background which would suggest strong scoring potential. Hornqvist has been a big time goal scorer at every level he’s played including the Swedish Elite League, internationally in the World Championships, and last season down the playoff stretch in the AHL for Milwaukee when he netted eight goals in his final 12 AHL contests. Wilson scored nine goals and 16 points in his two trips to the World Junior Championships, including tying for the tournament lead in goals at the 2008 WJC. He was the leading scorer for Boston University as a sophomore last season, leading the Terriers to an NCAA Title.
If Hornqvist and Wilson can continue their solid play the duo may be the answers to the Preds search for additional scoring depth.