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Filip Forsberg big-goal scorer for Predators

Forward major reason Nashville leads Blackhawks 3-0

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

NASHVILLE -- Few with the Nashville Predators who have watched forward Filip Forsberg mature from an 18-year-old project full of potential to a 30-goal scorer were surprised that Forsberg came through on Monday when he was needed most.

Forsberg, now an old hand at 22, scored two third-period goals to help the Predators come back for a 3-2 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville leads the best-of-7 series 3-0 with Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FSN-TN, CSN-CH).

The goals were his first this postseason.

Video: Filip Forsberg joins NHL Now to talk about Game 3

After Forsberg scored goals 9:44 apart in the third to turn the tide, forward Kevin Fiala scored at 16:44 of overtime.

Now the Predators have the first 3-0 series lead in their history. The Blackhawks, who have won the Stanley Cup three times since 2010 and reached a fourth Western Conference Final in that span, are on the brink of being eliminated in the first round for the second straight season.

Forsberg is a big reason each team is in its current position.

"Your big boys have to come out in big moments and he is a big boy coming out in a big moment," said forward Ryan Johansen, who centers Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. That line has 11 points in the series.

Forsberg is becoming known as a big boy around the League because of his goal-scoring. He had 26 goals in 2014-15, 33 goals last season and 31 this season.

"I think the consistency of scoring goals is what can make the mark or identity of a player," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.

On Monday, Forsberg scored when Nashville needed it most, something he has become more and more comfortable with in the past three seasons.

"It doesn't matter who is scoring," Forsberg said Tuesday after a meeting at the Predators practice facility. "Last night, I'm obviously really happy to score two goals and get us back in the game. Going forward, if it is me or whoever else, it's not a big deal. But I will be happy to be that guy."

Forsberg, who also has two assists in the series, is becoming that guy because he has the necessary skill and confidence.

"He's a guy who wants to be on the ice when the game is on the line and he wants the puck when the game is on the line," goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "As a teammate, that is always great to see.

"You want that kind of guy on the ice when the game is on the line. He is really elevating his game."

Video: CHI@NSH, Gm3: Forsberg nets second goal to tie game

As proof, Rinne points to the quality of the goals Forsberg scored in Game 3.

The first came when a puck bounced off the glass behind the Chicago net and back into the slot. Forsberg hit the bouncing puck with the blade of his stick and batted it past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.

"I played a little baseball when I was a kid," Forsberg said, laughing.

On the second goal, a well-placed shot from in tight, Forsberg capitalized on the mayhem around Crawford and showed a willingness to go to the hard areas.

"A lot of times, Filip scores a lot of beautiful goals and both of those goals were kind of playoff style," Rinne said. "In front of the net, doing the dirty work, hanging in there."

It wasn't just the workmanlike nature of the goals that was impressive, it was the timing.

Chicago was in command and looking to change the complexion of the series with a knockout punch in the third period.

Instead, Forsberg lifted the Predators off the mat, and then Fiala delivered the deciding blow in overtime.

"We've had a lot of third-period comebacks during the season. So yeah, why not do it again during the playoffs," Forsberg said, explaining Nashville's mindset during the second intermission.

In the regular season, the Predators won seven times after trailing in the third period.

Now, thanks in part to Forsberg, they have done it this postseason, too.

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