Pittsburgh Penguins Talk: Who Is Our Round 2 X-Factor?

Apr 27, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) celebrates with teammates after the Penguins' game against the Washington Capitals in game one of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. The Penguins won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) celebrates with teammates after the Penguins' game against the Washington Capitals in game one of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. The Penguins won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 5, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist (72) moves the puck ahead of Buffalo Sabres left wing Nicolas Deslauriers (44) during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist (72) moves the puck ahead of Buffalo Sabres left wing Nicolas Deslauriers (44) during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Shane Lunnen

Before Game 1 versus the Capitals, I was going to go with a different player as the Penguins X-Factor.  However now I’m going with Patric Hornqvist.  He assisted on both of Sidney Crosby’s goals and the second one in particular was very nice.  He collected a blue line shot from Olli Maatta that bounced off Brandon Holtby and dished it over to Crosby for the wide open goal.

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Hornqvist could be a huge factor in this series.  He is very good at creating chaos in front of the net and this could lead directly to goals, as we saw in Game 1.  Plus he’s not a bad goal scorer himself, having two thus far in these playoffs to go along with his three assists.

Hornqvist mostly played on the third line during the series against Columbus.  With the emergence of Jake Guentzel, the Penguins now have a lethal combination on their first line.  The Penguins are going to rely on Hornqvist to create plays and disrupt the area around the Capitals net.  He has the potential to really make his mark on this series.