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Insider Only Game 7: The Hornqvist Factor

Game 7

What might have Penguin fans nervous tonight?

It’s the fact that the Senators have a goaltender who is having one of those series where he’s playing well above his ability, has been lights out in four of six games, and it’s an Ottawa team playing with house money.

Sound familiar?

That was kind of the Pittsburgh Penguins last series vs Washington where they rode goaltending and opportunistic goal scoring to get by a Washington team that had no excuses not to get past the Penguins.

It would be something that the Penguins make elite goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby look like AHL goaltenders in Round 1 and 2, then bow out in the Eastern Conference Final to Craig Anderson.

Still, the Penguins have a right to be confident tonight.

They’ve found ways to dictate the terms, style of play the last three games and have found a group of four lines that the Senators are struggling to matchup with.

The interesting dynamic is how the Penguins alter the lines with Patric Hornqvist planning to try to give it a go tonight, though, he will be a game time decision and the Penguins won’t know for sure till after warmups.

Hornqvist has an upper body injury that has hindered him to handle the puck well and to keep this guy out of the lineup for five games during playoff time, he is obviously pretty injured.

If Hornqvist can play, do the coaches go right back to Guentzel – Crosby – Hornqvist, even though Hornqvist is not close to be fully healthy?

It’s not an easy decision.

The coaches have felt the addition of Chris Kunitz to the left wing on the top line has had a positive impact in making things tough on Erik Karlsson when he’s going back to retrieve pucks. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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