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Forsberg making spectacular goals look easy in playoffs for Predators

Forward's flashy plays help Nashville reach Game 7 of second round against Jets

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

WINNIPEG -- Sometimes Filip Forsberg seems larger than life in the eyes of goalie Pekka Rinne, his Nashville Predators teammate.

Much larger.

 

[RELATED: Predators like their chances against Jets in Game 7 | Complete Predators vs. Jets series coverage]

 

When the forward puts the finishing touches on one of those masterpiece goals that are becoming his trademark, Rinne often can't see what is going on at the other end of the ice from almost 200 feet away. So he'll look up at the huge video screen that dangles over center ice for the replays, which often depict Forsberg's huge image producing for Nashville yet again.

RInne saw Forsberg score two flashy goals in the 4-0 victory at the Winnipeg Jets on Monday that tied the Western Conference Second Round 3-3. The Predators can advance to the conference final with a win in Game 7 at Nashville on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

With Nashville leading 1-0 in the second period of Game 6, Forsberg, his stick having just broken, skated past the bench to get a new one from equipment manager Pete Rogers. He then collected the puck at the Jets blue line and raced past Winnipeg defenseman Ben Chiarot down the right wing to score on Connor Hellebucyk at 8:16 before being pushed into the net.

Highlight goal No. 1.

Video: NSH@WPG, Gm6: Forsberg gets new stick, pots goal

His next goal was even more spectacular. Taking a centering feed from linemate Viktor Arvidsson, he put the puck through his legs before flipping it past Hellybucyk for a 3-0 lead at 5:55 of the third.

Highlight goal No. 2.

Video: NSH@WPG, Gm6: Forsberg goes through legs for goal

Are there more in store in Game 7? Rinne certainly hopes so.

"[Those Game 2 goals] happened pretty quick and you just go like, 'What's happening?'" Rinne said. "It takes a little bit to realize, but it's pretty awesome to see the guys do that stuff and be successful with it. I think it just goes to show creative and how skilled these guys are."

When it comes to artistic merit, Predators coach Peter Laviolette puts Forsberg at the top of the list. As he told reporters of the second goal, "None of us in this room can make that play."

Forsberg has been making plays like that throughout the playoffs, scoring on two impressive rushes against the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.

"I don't know which has been the best," Rinne said. "It's hard to pick one. I feel like in these two series there already have been at least three or four really unbelievable goals and it's hard to pick. 

"I'm just a fan when I watch him play."

Video: Forsberg shows off hands throughout the playoffs

Forsberg, 23, has a Nashville-high 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 12 playoff games this season and nine points (three goals, six assists) in this series. He hopes to keep his hot streak going in Game 7.

"You can never have more fun than playing these elimination games and [in the] Stanley Cup playoffs," said Forsberg, who led the Predators in the regular season with 64 points (26 goals, 38 assists). "I just try to enjoy it as much as possible."

If Winnipeg is to spoil Nashville's fun, it will likely have to find a way to slow the Predators' top line of Forsberg, Arvidsson (six points; three goals, three assists) and Ryan Johansen (eight points; three goals, five assists), who have combined for 23 points in the series.

Video: Filip Forsberg's stellar postseason play

As for his between-the-legs dangles, even Forsberg can't predict if there will be more in store come Thursday. He has no points in two previous Game 7s (in 2016 against the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks in the first and second round, respectively), so he'll take goals of any kind. 

"Natural is definitely not the word for it, but it just takes a lot of practice, takes a lot of your doing," he said of his fancy moves. "You just try to maybe do it in practice and stuff like that. And once in a while when you get time and space for it in a game, you try to pull it off."

What better time to do it again than in Game 7?

***

 

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