As Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg darted into the offensive zone, Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo closed in, likely knowing he didn’t really have a chance.
Flipping the puck up and around Pietrangelo’s body, Forsberg nonchalantly skated away, hitting the brakes once he reached the crease as he rifled off a backhand shot that elevated over Vegas goalie Logan Thompson glove side and into the net.
It was his second goal of the game and served as the eventual game winner in Nashville’s 3-2 win over the Golden Knights on Tuesday.
“You never get tired of seeing it, that’s for sure,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “He’s such a good player, he’s playing at a high level and he’s making great plays and finding ways to be able to score. That’s what we need him to do is play the way that he’s playing.
“He’s playing intense, he’s playing fast, he’s playing powerful, he’s responsible without the puck, he’s getting himself into scoring areas and he’s finding ways to finish, which makes him such a good player when he’s playing at this level. This is something we talked to our team about was you want to be at your best against the best and be at your best n high-stakes games.”
As impressive as it was, Tuesday’s goal might not even crack Forsberg’s top five. Highlight reel goals have become the norm for the 6-foot-2 Swede, whose creativity with the puck is second-to-none league-wide.
Forsberg has always been a scorer, but not with this kind of volume. Since returning from an upper-body injury on Nov. 24, Forsberg leads the NHL with 13 goals in 16 games, and his 20 points are tied for the fourth-most during that span.
The 27-year-old forward ranks in the top 10 league-wide in both goals (17) and shooting percentage (23). He leads the Predators in both categories as well as individual shot attempts per 60 minutes (15.86), and only three other forwards on the team spend more time in the offensive zone than Forsberg, who starts 58.3 percent of his shifts there.
Nashville has an 8-3 record when Forsberg scores at least one goal.
“He’s playing the game fast, he’s using his size, he’s really competitive on the puck, really appreciate the way he plays without the puck — he checks up-ice, he’s responsible in the D-zone, and that allows him to play big minutes and be able to play against other team’s top players,” Hynes continued.
“From an offensive perspective, he’s been really consistent. He’s using size and power, he’s strong on the puck, his puck decisions have been very good when he’s in scoring areas, he’s shooting the puck like he can, and that’s what you need from top guys on your team.”
With his two-goal performance on Tuesday, Forsberg is now just 15 goals away from tying David Legwand's franchise record of 210. At his current pace, he could potentially break that record around mid-March.
If he keeps up his current scoring pace, Forsberg is also on track for nearly 50 goals this season, which would smash Viktor Arvidsson's franchise record for single-season goals (34).
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