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World Cup

Forsberg hot, hoping Team Sweden takes notice

Predators top scorer hopes goal surge leads to World Cup roster spot

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

Forsberg nets natural hat trick

NSH@TOR: Forsberg leads Preds to win with hat trick

2/23/16: Filip Forsberg scores the first three goals of the game, his first regular-season hat trick, to lead the Predators to a win in Toronto

  • 01:04 •

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg is on a hot streak lately, with two natural hat tricks in a three-game span, but he also has his eye on the 2016 World Cup of Hockey that will begin in September.

The first 16 roster spots for each team participating in the World Cup will be announced Wednesday. Forsberg is hoping to hear his name called by Team Sweden. 

"It's probably everyone's dream to be able to play," Forsberg said. "There hasn't been a World Cup since 2004, I think, and obviously that would be a great experience for sure." 

Forsberg has experience playing for his home country. He played in the IIHF World Junior Championship for three years in a row, serving as Sweden's captain in 2013 and 2014. 

In the summer of 2015, Forsberg played in the IIHF World Championship for Sweden and finished second in the tournament with eight goals behind Canada's Tyler Seguin, who finished with nine. 

"It's awesome," Forsberg said. "You're really proud of it obviously, putting your country's jersey on and just being able to play with the best players from your country. It's always a special feeling."

After having a breakout rookie season where he led the Predators with 63 points, Forsberg got off to a slow start offensively this season. He had two goals in his first 21 games and was struggling to produce consistently. His fortunes have changed recently.

Video: DAL@NSH: Forsberg evens the game late in the 2nd

Forsberg has been on a line with Mike Ribeiro and Craig Smith that has been the catalyst offensively for the Predators in the past 10 games. Forsberg has scored 12 goals in his past 11 games, and has taken over the Nashville scoring lead with 26 goals and 46 points in 63 games. 

"I'm just trying to shoot a lot of pucks," Forsberg said. "Obviously things have been going in the right way for me and [Ribeiro] and [Smith] lately, and it's a lot of credit to them too. We're working hard together just trying to get open for each other, and it's been working really good so far."

The Predators have been inconsistent offensively throughout much of the season. Forsberg's recent hot streak, along with strong defensive play and good goaltending from Pekka Rinne and Carter Hutton, has vaulted them to a nine-game point streak (6-0-3) heading into their game Tuesday against the Dallas Stars (8 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, FS-TN, NHL.TV) and in control of the first wild card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with 19 games remaining. 

"It's always good to score goals," Forsberg said. "A hat trick is obviously pretty special. To get two in this short period of time is probably something I never thought was going to happen so it's been a lot of fun these last few days. I've just got to keep it going." 

Forsberg and the Predators seem to be playing their best hockey at the right time. After a strong start to last season, when the Predators at one point had the best record in the NHL, they faded down the final stretch with a 6-12-3 record. 

Nashville's success and Forsberg's production seemed to go hand-in-hand. Forsberg is hoping he and the Predators can learn from last season and continue to play well this season.

"I think it's just about working hard," Forsberg said. "Our team has been doing a really good job so far. We can't change anything really, and neither can I or [Ribeiro] or [Smith]. Our line has to keep doing the same thing that we've been doing. That's what's brought us some success."

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