Forsberg’s hat trick helps Predators beat Avalanche 4-2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Filip Forsberg is living up to every bit of his `Scoresberg’ nickname right now for the Nashville Predators.
Forsberg scored his second straight hat trick, and the Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 Thursday night to sweep the season series between the Central Division teams.
”He’s definitely a gifted player,” Nashville center Ryan Johansen said of his linemate. ”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.”
Forsberg now has a team-high 22 goals with five of those combined in his last two second periods. Forsberg, who scored three times in the second period of Tuesday night’s overtime loss to Calgary, got the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 36.5 seconds left.
He’s the first NHL player with consecutive hat tricks since Alex Burrows on Jan. 5-7, 2010. Forsberg can’t explain his scoring streak right now and can’t remember the last time he notched consecutive hat tricks.
”Maybe when I was 10 years old or so,” Forsberg said.
Viktor Arvidsson also scored a goal, and Roman Josi and Johansen each added two assists as Nashville won its fifth and final game against Colorado this season.
Goalie Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for the win after being pulled Tuesday night.
Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who have lost three straight. Peter Wiercioch also had a goal.
”It’s not good enough this time of year to just put together 40 minutes,” Colorado left wing Gabriel Landeskog said. ”We feel like at times if we play like we played in the first and the third, if we play like that the whole game, I think we can come out of this one with at least two points.”
Both teams hit iron in the opening minutes with Colorado center Matt Duchene hitting the post on a 2-on-1, while Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban hit the crossbar with a long shot.
The Predators got the first power play when Andreas Martinsen went into the box for interfering with Rinne. The Avalanche killed off the penalty.
The Predators scored seconds after the power play ended. Craig Smith found Arvidsson skating up the slot with a pass, and Arvidsson scored his 19th this season at 11:31 of the first.
The Avalanche tied it up with a bit of luck late in the period. John Mitchell’s shot went off Iginla’s right skate and beat Rinne between his pads with 2:08 left.
Colorado took a 2-1 lead at 2:34 of the second when Wiercioch’s shot jumped over Rinne’s glove.
Forsberg took over. He tied it up at 5:26, then the Swede gave Nashville the lead at 10:59 with his second goal of the period. Nashville coach Peter Laviolette noted Forsberg had two hat tricks in three games last season.
”That is four hat tricks in five games, and that is pretty impressive,” Laviolette said. ”He is a talented kid.”
Arvidsson had a chance at a second goal himself off a cross-ice pass from Forsberg with 6:27 left in the second only to be stopped by Smith at the post with an impressive save. Smith kept the Avalanche close making 10 saves in the second with Colorado taking only three shots.
In the third, the Avalanche cranked up the pressure only to be stopped by Rinne.
NOTES: The Predators improved to 18-2-5 when scoring first, which is the fewest regulation losses in the NHL. … Forsberg now has six points (five goals, one assist) in five games. … Forsberg tied Steve Sullivan (four) for most hat tricks in franchise history. … Josi now has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine games since coming off injured reserve. … Smith started the second game of his career. … Iginla’s goal gives him 619 for his career, now six behind Joe Sakic for 15th all-time.
Avalanche: Host Buffalo on Saturday night.
Predators: Host Washington on Saturday.