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Drive to the net: Hagelin, Hornqvist connect around NHL’s hottest player

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Carl Hagelin and Patric Hornqvist high-five after the Penguins' winning goal Thursday night. - AP

MONTREAL -- "It wasn't a great shot."

Carl Hagelin's always in a rush, and in this case late Thursday night inside the Bell Centre, he was bound for the team bus. Everyone with the Penguins had spent a little extra time savoring their 5-3 bounceback beating of the Canadiens, but now it was time to go.

And yet, even as we'd finished speaking and he'd burst away, he turned back to share the above observation.

I wasn't sure I'd heard him correctly, so I asked him to repeat it.

"It wasn't a great shot by me. At all. Really," Hagelin clarified. "I didn't get much on it."

[caption id="attachment_587393" align="aligncenter" width="440"] TAP ABOVE FOR BOXSCORE, STANDINGS, VIDEO[/caption]

With that, he whisked away, unable to hear what would have been a healthy rebuttal on my part.

It was a great play, the one that set up Patric Hornqvist's decisive deflection with 7:36 left in regulation.

It was a great all-around shift, as Evgeni Malkin would confirm for me by adding, "Yeah, so great."

And maybe most important in the aftermath of the never-speak-of-that-thing-again New York debacle less than 24 hours earlier, and then in the more immediate aftermath of Montreal storming to a 2-0 lead in the opening 6:31, it was a great all-around effort that genuinely deserved this goal as its signature.

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