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Five Things: What Makes Filip Forsberg So Good?

With Four Hat Tricks Over Last Two Seasons, Forsberg has Become One of the NHL's Top Goal-Scorers

by John Glennon @glennonsports / jg1sport@aol.com

In the Nashville Predators last two games, forward Filip Forsberg has fired the puck on goal a combined eight times.

He's scored on six of those shots.

Forsberg's back-to-back hat tricks - scored with near maximum efficiency - are but the latest examples of a player who's torched the League over the last couple of months. After recovering from a slow goal-scoring start - three goals in his first 30 games - he's scored an NHL-high 19 goals in the Preds last 30 contests.

His shooting percentage during that stretch is a smoking 21.1 percent, almost twice as good as Calle Jarnkrok, the next-best teammate who's played in at least 20 of those last 30 contests.

"It's fun to watch," Preds Captain Mike Fisher said. "On the bench, we're just like … sometimes it's just comical to see him doing his thing. He's hot."

Forsberg's been hot for the majority of his three full seasons with the Predators, scoring a team-best 81 goals during that stretch - 26 as a rookie, 33 last season and 22 in 60 games so far this year.

So just how has Forsberg, who's only 22 years old, already emerged as one of the League's better goal-scorers?

Here are five of the reasons:

The Quick Release:

In Thursday's win over Colorado, Forsberg controlled the puck at the top of the Avs face-off circle and almost instantaneously whipped it toward the net. Colorado goalie Jeremy Smith was a split-second too late to react, and as a result the puck bounced off his glove and over the goal line.

Video: COL@NSH: Forsberg tallies off the faceoff

"It didn't need a lot of wind-up," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "It didn't have a lot of sell to it. Some people have to get [the puck], bring it, get it back and unload it. I mean that was on the stick and off his stick with the right spot it needed to be in."

Forsberg leads the NHL with 12 wrist-shot goals in the past 30 games, and 14 of his 22 scores this year have been wrist shots.

"I just don't think you have any time really these days to wind up and take heavy, heavy shots," Forsberg said. "Maybe if you're a d-man, you can shoot a few more slapshots. But I can probably count on one hand how many slapshots I've scored on. I just try to shoot it quick and put it at the right spot."

Shot Deception:

One of the reasons it's so hard to beat NHL goalies is because they're so good at anticipating shots. Often times, they know where a shooter is firing the puck even before it leaves his stick.

That's not often the case when it comes to Forsberg, who's shown an impressive ability to fool goalies with his eyes and hands.

If you want to use a football comparison, think of Forsberg as the quarterback who moves a safety to the left side of the field with his eyes, then fires back to the right. If you want to use a tennis comparison, think of Forsberg as a server with the ability to thump the ball into any corner of the box at the last second, eliminating the returner's ability to anticipate.

"It's a very deceptive shot," Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "He can change it in a heartbeat, whether it's going left or right. There's an unpredictability of where he's going. So goalies can't really lock in on it."

Video: COL@NSH: Forsberg scores off a turnover

The Perfect Stick:

Different players have different tastes in sticks when it comes to length, weight and curve of the blade. It appears Forsberg's model suits him to a `T' - he uses a stick with specific length, flexibility and curve to suit his shot.

"It's like the stick and the blade is kind of like a whip," Preds goalie Juuse Saros said. "He whips it like [Winnipeg's Patrik Laine], so it's tough to read."

Adds Preds goalie Pekka Rinne: "He uses that long stick, too, and I feel like that's an advantage for a shooter if you're able to use a taller stick. You can change the location of the puck so much. Even when you're skating down the ice, you can get the puck from very far away to your feet and then release it. It makes our job as goalies more difficult than someone just shooting from the same spot."

Adjusting The Angle:

Forsberg has become a master at firing from all angles.

He's just as comfortable whipping the puck at the net from right at his skates as he is stretching beyond the reach of a defenseman and firing away. Again, this has an unsettling effect on a goalie who isn't always prepared for what's coming.

"I've been working on my shot as long as I can remember playing hockey," Forsberg said. "I've always loved scoring goals and tried to do it in different ways. I think if you want to score goals in this League, you have to [do that]. Everyone is blocking shots, so you have to adjust the angle and still get the shot off."

Added Ekholm: "He is a big guy, and he uses his speed, so he creates room for himself and he creates those angles. As a defenseman, you definitely have to respect that."

Video: COL@NSH: Forsberg buries empty-netter for hat trick

Strong Linemates:

When it comes to his goal-scoring, Forsberg is the first to acknowledge the play of his linemates.

In recent weeks, Forsberg has teamed with center Ryan Johansen and wing Viktor Arvidsson to create a formidable trio. Johansen has picked up assists on six of Forsberg's last 12 goals. Arvidsson has picked up three assists on three of Forsberg's last 12 goals, and his hustle has resulted in countless numbers of scoring opportunities.

"I'm just trying to shoot the puck, and Joey and Arvi are doing a good job of setting up a lot of chances," Forsberg said. "All three of us have had success. Basically, that's the mindset lately - attack the game and the chances come from there."

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