CONFIRMED: Filip Forsberg is really good at hockey

Filip Forsberg is good. You already knew that. A blend of playmaking and finish, Forsberg is one of hockey’s most unique talents. He makes up one-third of one of the NHL’s best forward lines alongside Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson.

The winger has taken his game to another level this postseason. With the playoffs nearly half-over – the tournament will officially reach its halfway mark when Forsberg’s Predators play the decisive seventh game of their Second Round series with the Jets on Thursday, the 23-year-old paces the Western Conference with 15 points (7-8) in 12 games, tied with Alex Ovechkin for 6th overall in the playoffs.

With Nashville trailing 3-2 to Winnipeg last night and needing a win to keep the series alive, Forsberg took the game over, doing what he’s done for essentially the entire postseason – making things happen, and scoring highlight-reel goals – and finishing with two goals and an assist as the Preds forced Game 7 in what has been an epic series with their Central Division rivals.

Here’s the first goal – simple chip off the glass by Craig Smith, and Forsberg does the rest. Grabs a new stick from the bench, picks the pocket of Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot, and takes it right in. Bingo, bango. Tick, tock. Goal.

The second? All alone, picking dandelions on the doorstep waiting for Arvidsson to pass him the puck so he can bury one with a filthy, between-the-legs finish on Connor Hellebuyck.

Forsberg has been the Human Highlight reel this postseason. His 7 goals and 15 points haven’t been done quietly.

He opened the playoffs with a two-goal performance, the second of which was a complete undressing of Avalanche defenseman and former Predators teammate Samuel Girard, which followed a nice deflection of a Roman Josi shot that proved to be the game-winner that night.

And if that wasn’t enough, here’s his goal in Game 4 of the First Round series with Colorado. Duncan Siemens had no chance.

Here’s Forsberg’s other goal in this series, which came in Game 3, a 7-4 Jets win, an absolute track meet in which Nashville relinquished a 3-0 first period lead. Forsberg’s goal – a simple flick of the wrist – tied the game 4-4.

Forsberg has been a force in this series and is probably why the Jets are preparing for a Game 7 and not the Vegas Golden Knights.

Some highlights – nine points overall. Three multi-point performances. Three assists in 24:10 of ice-time in the Predators double-overtime win in Game 2. I’ve seen worse game logs.


Wingers: 11-15

11 – David Pastrnak

The six-year, $40 million deal the Bruins were able to get Pastrnak to agree to at the start of training camp is going to be a steal. He’s been one of the NHL’s top offensive producers per 60 minutes since coming into the league and last season put up 34 goals and 70 points after the Bruins took the training wheels off. The future is bright.

12 – Cam Atkinson

One of the biggest breakout stars on a Columbus team that was full of them last season. Atkinson exploded for 35 goals in 2016-17, nine of which were game-winners. He was the best player throughout the Jackets’ 16-game winning streak that stretched from November to January, putting up 10 goals and 18 points in that stretch.

13 – Patrik Laine

The second overall pick of the 2016 draft is the best pure goal scorer to come out since Alex Ovechkin was selected first overall in 2004. He was the best rookie not named Auston Mathews in the NHL last season, putting up 36 goals and 64 points in 73 games. Of those 64 points, 50 came at even strength. Laine won’t bury at the 17.6 percent rate like he did in his rookie campaign, but you have to figure he’ll shoot for a higher volume than the 204 pucks he put on net last season. Running alongside Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Blake Wheeler won’t do his numbers any harm, either.

14 – Johnny Gaudreau

Gaudreau ripped it up in college but his size (or lack thereof) raised questions about how he’d fare in the NHL. Turns out he was just fine. At 24, Gaudreau is the face of one the NHL’s best young teams and among the best playmaking forwards in the league. Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are one of the top center-wing combos in the game.

15 – Filip Forsberg

When Forsberg caught fire in the second half of the 2016-17 season (22 of his 31 goals came in the final 41 games), it energized Nashville’s top line that consists of the 23-year-old, Ryan Johansen, and Victor Arvidsson. Much was made of the Predators defensive corps en route to the their first Stanley Cup Final appearance last season – and for good reason – but that top forward line had as much to do with it.

Stat of the Day: Filip Forsberg has 11 goals in last 17 games

It’s been a rough past month for the Nashville Predators.

Banged up and still failing to meet lofty preseason expectations, the Preds lost P.K. Subban for over a month with a lower-body injury while James Neal and Colin Wilson have also missed time to injury. Ace defenseman Roman Josi is now out with a concussion, with no timetable for his recovery.

One of the bright spots, however, has been the production of star forward Filip Forsberg, something that was a major trouble spot early in the season. In 17 games going back to December 19th, Forsberg has 11 goals to bump his total up to 14. The total of 14 still isn’t the pace he’s expected to be on over a 82-game season, but it’s a much better pace than he had previously been on.

Flanking No. 1 pivot Ryan Johansen for a full season for the first time, Forsberg was expected to take off this season, his third in the NHL. Scoring 33 goals last season after burying 26 the season prior, the expectation for the 22-year-old was to rise to the level of counterparts Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Jamie Benn among elite goal scorers in the Central Division. Instead, he was held scoreless to the first 13 games of the season and scored just three goals through the first 30 games of the season.

His run of late suggests that he’s back on track. Which is good for Nashville, which sits at third in the Central amidst a three-game winning streak. For good times to keep rolling in Nashville, Forsberg needs to sustain the run he’s currently on.