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game recap

Forsberg has hat trick to lift Predators past Blues

Second in three games, Rinne's shutout lifts Nashville

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Filip Forsberg's second natural hat trick in the past three games and Pekka Rinne's fourth shutout propelled the Nashville Predators to a 5-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.  

Nashville (31-21-11) has won four games in a row and has at least one point in nine consecutive games (6-0-3).

Forsberg scored three times in the second period, his 24th, 25th and 26th, equaling his goals total from his rookie season last season. He passed defenseman Roman Josi for the Predators lead in points with 46. Forsberg had 63 points last season.

"I'm just trying to shoot everything I guess," Forsberg said. "Obviously [Predators forward Mike Ribeiro] made a few really nice plays, [Predators forward Craig Smith] made a great drop play there too. I'm just trying to get open I guess is the biggest thing.

Video: STL@NSH: Forsberg scores three goals in the 2nd

"We've really found a way to play defensively. I think that's the biggest key in all of this. That's the biggest thing to get offense too. I think we're playing really solid defensively, and our goalies are coming up with big saves when we need them too."

Forsberg gave the Predators a 2-0 lead 54 seconds into the period on a rebound. Defenseman Petter Granberg took the original shot from the point, and Forsberg shot the rebound past Jake Allen for his 24th goal.  

Forsberg gave the Predators a 3-0 lead at 5:39 on a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. Smith made a drop pass on the rush to Forsberg, who shot it past Allen.

"I'm just trying to get open for [Ribeiro] and [Smith]," Forsberg said. "They've been doing a really good job of trying to find me. I'm just trying to put it in between the red pipes."

Video: STL@NSH: Smith hammers home rebound to provide lead

Forsberg's third of the period gave Nashville a 4-0 lead at 14:49 from the left faceoff circle on the power play. Ribeiro made a cross-ice pass that Forsberg one-timed past Allen for his 12th goal in the past 11 games.

"A lot of times you have great confidence," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "A lot of our guys do right now. There's quite a few guys that are playing with a lot of confidence. [Rinne] has got a lot of confidence, Craig Smith, Mike Ribeiro, but [Forsberg] really seems to be dialed in right now. He's moving quickly, he's moving the puck quickly, getting his shot off quick, and all of that is translating to offense."

Forsberg had three goals in a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

"It's certainly up there with some of the best hockey that he's played," Laviolette said. "He's consistent right now. When he plays at a pace and he does things fast with the puck, he becomes really difficult to defend. He plays the off wing, so he moves in and out of the ice surface and just creates things, gets his shot off, makes a play to somebody else. He's got a lot of confidence. He's in a stretch right now where he's playing really good hockey.

Video: STL@NSH: Rinne stuffs Paajarvi at the doorstep

St. Louis (35-20-9) has lost three games in a row in regulation for the first time this season.

"Anytime something like this happens, it [stinks]," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "It happens to everybody. In the third period, we did some good things. We had some chances. That's what we were trying to do and just get some momentum heading home. When you play two games, you know it's not going to be perfect."

Smith and Colin Wilson also scored for the Predators. Rinne made 28 saves for his 40th NHL shutout and is 4-0-1 in his past five games with an 0.79 goals-against average and .974 save percentage.

"It's just one of those things where you play a couple good games and gain some confidence, feel good about yourself and just try not to think about too much," Rinne said. "That's the thing, when you feel like you put a lot of pressure on yourself and things are not going your way, it can be hard. You overthink things and make things more complicated for yourself. Right now it's just hockey and it's fun."

Blues goaltender Pheonix Copley made his NHL debut, replacing Allen in the second period. Allen made 19 saves; Copley made five.

Nashville captain Shea Weber missed his third game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Video: Predators cruise past Blues, 5-0

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