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Filip Forsberg Announces He’s Back with Winner vs. Hawks

Filip Forsberg

You could say Filip Forsberg is back.

The winger shined on Wednesday night in Chicago, scoring twice, including a dazzling individual effort in overtime to win the contest for the Nashville Predators. The 4-3 victory in extra time gives the Preds points in six straight and seven out of a possible eight on their current road trip.

The contest was only Forsberg’s second since returning from an injury that forced him to miss 17 games. No. 9 was nearly a point-per-game player to open the season in his first 27 games and with a goal in the second period and overtime on Wednesday, he quickly jumped back to his original pace.

“Great effort,” Forsberg said of Wednesday’s game. “A tough late goal, and the guys fought back and had a few looks [in overtime], even before we scored the winner. It’s a great win.”

“We ended up kicking up the lead there late in the third, and you have to fight for the point,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I liked everything about the overtime, from the opening faceoff to the way we handled the offensive zone and the line change… Fill got out there fresh and he made just an incredible move, really strong play.”

Colton Sissons got the scoring started in Chicago, beating goaltender Collin Delia less than seven minutes into the contest for his ninth of the season – which ties a career high – and his second in as many games.

Chicago evened the score late in the opening period on the power play, but just eight seconds later, P.K. Subban sprung Viktor Arvidsson in on a partial break, and No. 33 went to the backhand for a slick tally and his fifth in his last eight games.

In the second, it was Forsberg who struck on the power play with one of his oh-so-familiar snipes to the back of the twine for his first since returning from injury. The Blackhawks pulled back to within one late in the frame when Jonathan Toews capitalized while shorthanded.

Both teams had their chances in the final period, but with less than three minutes to play in regulation, it was Artem Anisimov who beat Pekka Rinne five-hole to force overtime.

Things turned out just fine, however, as Nashville controlled the puck for the entirety of the session until Forsberg ended it by picking the top corner on Delia and sending his teammates flying over the boards with jubilation.

“I just tried to fire it off,” Forsberg said of his winner. “Once I got close, it was pretty open short side, so I just tried to lift it.”

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

For a team that suffered a string of road woes for the better part of almost two months, they seem to have found their way again, winners of three straight and four of their last five away from home.

“We’ve been more consistent in our game,” Arvidsson said. “Just playing better defense, not letting as many goals up and protecting our net more… Now, we have almost everyone healthy, so we’ll just keep going from there.”

Scoresberg:

Just moment’s after he walked to the net, picked a top corner and got his team their 27th win of the season, Filip Forsberg admitted he’s still a bit rusty.

That’s understandable, especially given he missed 17 games due to injury. But, if scoring two goals, including the game-winner, is what he looks like rusty, just give it a couple of months.

“There were a couple passes that I missed and stuff like that, but it’s getting better,” Forsberg said. “Just trying to work hard and a lot of things worked today.”

So humble, right?

You wouldn’t expect anything less from the soft-spoken Swede, but in reality, he made a major statement in showing why he’s consistently one of Nashville’s most important pieces night after night.

“He’s a great player,” Arvidsson said of his linemate and friend. “He knows what he’s good at, and he does it to his best of his abilities. You can see it on the ice; he’s really comfortable, and he’s having fun.”

Forsberg, Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen, Nashville’s top trio, certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves on Wednesday night, combining for three of the club’s four goals, 18 shots and a myriad of chances throughout the evening.

And if Arvidsson is the workhorse and Johansen the playmaker, Forsberg established himself as the finisher once more.

“Fil is a huge part of the team,” Laviolette said. “He’s been our top scorer for the past two years, and that line has been very good… Arv and Fil were both out for a long time, so they’re probably going to shake off a little bit of rust, but the more they play, the better they’re going to feel. They had a big impact in the game tonight, all three of them.”

Notes:

Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholm extended his point streak to four games and recorded his 150th career point in the process with an assist on Colton Sissons’s goal.

Defenseman P.K. Subban extended his point streak to four games on the night, and Kevin Fiala’s stretched to three.

Nashville will play the fifth contest of their six-game trip on Thursday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets before finishing up on Sunday afternoon in Carolina.

Pete Weaber’s Postgame Report