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Forsberg enjoying rare early scoring binge for Predators

Forward typically slow starter, has five goals in first seven games

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg has five goals in seven games. Typically a slow starter, the goals have come early and often for Forsberg, who said he hasn't changed his approach from past seasons.

"Basically it's been the same mindset every season," Forsberg said after practice at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan on Friday. He'll try to keep his hot play going when the Predators play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET; SN, MSG, FS-TN, NHL.TV). "Just trying to do the same things. It's a fun game. You don't really know why things work, but you just have to stick with it."

He didn't score until his 14th game last season and didn't get his fifth goal until his 32nd game, but he finished with 31 goals. In 2015-16 he had two goals through 21 games but ended with an NHL career-best 33. This season he's on pace for 59.

"He's a kid that tries to bring the puck to the net all the time," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "Right now, early in the season, they are dropping for him. They didn't for the last two years, but three years ago they did [eight goals in his first 16 games]. He had a good start three years ago so I can't explain it."

Although he may be a slow starter, Forsberg's goals tend to come in bunches. He scored seven times during a six-game goal streak from Nov. 2-13, 2014. Last season he had hat tricks in back-to-back games, Feb. 21 and Feb. 23 against the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche. It was part of a five-game goal streak during which he scored 10 times.

Video: NSH@CHI: Forsberg nets rebound on the power play

Forsberg said goal or no goal, he just wants to win.

"When you feel good you keep trying to feel good and just keep doing the same things," he said. "If I score one or two or three or nothing, all I want is to at least try to help the team win the game."

Forsberg led Nashville with nine goals and 16 points during the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and appears to be picking up where he left off.

"It's obviously been a shorter summer, but at the same time I was playing the same game so I can't really put my finger on it," he said of his goal scoring.

Forsberg has developed chemistry with his linemates, center Ryan Johansen and right wing Viktor Arvidsson. They combined for 180 points (76 goals, 104 assists) last season and were the top three scorers on the Predators during the regular season.

"I like these guys a lot," Forsberg said. "We played together almost the whole year last year and basically started [2017-18] the way we went off last year. They are two really good hockey players and I just try to catch up with them on offense as quick as I can."

It's no coincidence Forsberg's goal scoring has led to a better start for the Predators, who are 4-2-1. Last season they started 3-5-3 and Forsberg didn't have a goal.

Forsberg has one goal in six career games against the Rangers, who are 1-5-2. Despite their struggles, he's expecting a tough game Saturday.

"Playing the New York Rangers here in New York is always tough," he said. "They are a really good team with really solid defense and are a fast team and obviously they haven't been playing well but that will only make them even more ready to play and obviously we need to be ready for that."

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