Fans of the Nashville Predators keep losing their lids.
Filip Forsberg tallied a hat trick for the second consecutive game, as the Predators completed the season sweep and topped the Colorado Avalanche by a 4-2 final on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The victory gives Nashville 29 wins on the season – five of which came against the Avalanche – and 67 points overall, good for a tie with St. Louis for third in the Central Division.
And as for Forsberg? Just another night at the office.
“He’s definitely a gifted player,” Preds center Ryan Johansen said of Forsberg. “Every night is a privilege to play with those guys. He keeps impressing me, and I’m sure everyone else watching. He’s really an elite player, and he’s a huge part of this organization and this hockey club if we’re going to be successful.”
Viktor Arvidsson opened the scoring when he deposited a feed from Craig Smith for his 19th goal of the season, tying him with Filip Forsberg for the team lead. Colorado evened it up at 1-1 before the period was out off a tip in front by Jarome Iginla.
Colorado took a 2-1 lead early in the second, but then for the second consecutive game, Forsberg took over, tallying twice in the middle frame for his 20th and 21st markers of the season and a 3-2 Preds lead after 40 minutes.
After the Avalanche pushed to tie it in the third, Forsberg found an empty net from his own end at the 19:23 mark for his sixth goal in his last two games.
“I’ve just tried to [shoot from different angles] since I was a little kid,” Forsberg said. “I obviously love scoring goals. I watch a lot of video and just try to pick up as much as I can from other players.”
“I don’t know if he can sense an actual goal-scoring run, but visibly being in the building or behind the bench where I stand, you can sense when somebody is on their game,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I believe that players like Filip that have the ability to get the puck off their stick, can release it quickly and are good at what they do. It’s just a matter of time before they’re on top of their game.”
Hats Off to Fil:
What did Filip Forsberg do for an encore presentation 48 hours after recording his third career hat trick? Tally his fourth, of course.
Forsberg scored three of Nashville’s four goals on Thursday night against the Avalanche, completing his second hat trick in as many games. He’s the first player to record hat tricks in back-to-back games in more than seven years – Alexandre Burrows was the last to do it in January of 2010.
His teammates have almost run out of adjectives to describe the Swede, who now leads the team with 22 goals on the season, the first on the club to his the 20-goal mark in 2016-17.
Forsberg’s line, which also includes Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, has been dominant at times since they’ve been together, with Arvidsson scoring Nashville’s first goal of the night and Johansen collected two helpers to give him points in six straight against Colorado.
“It’s probably why he has two hat tricks in the last two games – you just try to get him the puck as much as you can,” Johansen said. “The way he’s shooting it – he’s shooting it hard and quick. That faceoff where I had it behind me, he is on his opposite side, not even his strong side, and he’s able to corral it and get it off in half a second. It’s been a heck of a couple games for that kid. It’s been a lot of fun.”
“They deserve all the credit I can give them,” Forsberg said. “They’re truly tremendous players. Arvidsson has been unreal for us all year with his speed. And I don’t know if there’s any better passer than Johansen. I just try to get open.”
But it was Forsberg who stole the show once more. And the month of “Filbruary” isn’t over quite yet.
“Everyone wants to contribute and help the team win,” Forsberg said. “I can’t expect myself to score a hat trick every game, but I just try to work hard. And if I can score, I’ll take that as well.”
Forward Harry Zolnierczyk entered the Nashville lineup on Thursday night in place of Colton Sisson who was a healthy scratch.
The Preds have won six consecutive games against the Avalanche and are 11-3-1 in their last 15 home games against Colorado. Nashville has scored three or more goals in 15 of those contests and have never been shut out at home by Colorado in 36 meetings.
Nashville concludes their four-game home stand this weekend with a back-to-back set as they host Washington on Saturday and Edmonton on Sunday. Both games begin at 4 p.m. CT.
Pete Weber’s Post Game Report