Forsberg, Preds aim to rub more salt in wound of infamous trade from Caps

Joe Malone, here. Mike Bossy, here.

That’s all the roll one has to call when you’re looking for the NHL players who have notched hat tricks in three straight games. Malone did it twice during the 1917-18 season, and Bossy pulled it off in November of 1981.

Nashville Predators left winger Filip Forsberg can swell the class’ ranks to three Saturday if he can burn his old organization, the Washington Capitals, for a third hat trick in five days when the teams meet in a late-afternoon matinee at Bridgestone Arena.

And while the odds are long that Forsberg will pull off the triple-triple, he does have a few things working in his favor.

He has four career hat tricks, all coming in the last two seasons and all happening in the last week of February. He has four goals in four career games against Washington, which dealt him at the 2013 trading deadline for Martin Erat in what has turned out to be one of the most lopsided trades in recent memory.

What’s more, Forsberg and his Nashville teammates could have a big schedule advantage for this one. The Capitals played Friday night, edging Edmonton 2-1 at home, and might have about 16 hours of recovery time after arriving in the Music City before playing the back end of a tough back-to-back.

Not that well-rested opponents have succeeded lately trying to corral Forsberg, who after managing just three goals in his first 30 games has 19 in the last 30.

“I just try to attack the game,” Forsberg said. “I obviously love scoring goals. I watch as much video as I can and just try to pick up as much as I can from other players.”

Predators coach Peter Laviolette swears there’s little difference from the Forsberg who fired and couldn’t find the net in November versus the one that scores as easily as he breathes these days.

“I really liked the way he played in November and there was not a whole lot of production like you are seeing right now,” Laviolette said. “Being in the building or behind the bench, you can sense when somebody is on their game.”

Although the schedule could work against it Saturday, Washington (41-12-7) has been on its game for months. It leads the league in regulation wins (39), points (89), fewest goals allowed (128) and goal differential (73).

Even Friday night, when right winger T.J. Oshie sat out with an injury and Edmonton kept Alex Ovechkin off the scoresheet, the Capitals found a different way to win. Justin Williams snapped a third period tie with his 19th goal and Braden Holtby stopped 30 shots for his 31st victory.

“That was a very good team that we played against that we shut down offensively, except for a bad break on their goal,” Williams said.

Washington coach Barry Trotz said after Friday night’s win that Oshie, along with defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, would sit out on Saturday. The plan is for Oshie and Orpik to return Tuesday night for a big Metropolitan Division showdown at the New York Rangers.