NASHVILLE — A little past noon on Saturday, Filip Forsberg lay on the ice, leading his team in stretches during their practice here at Bridgestone Arena. He was contorted in a way few could manage, stick-handling a puck better than most players standing on two feet.
But despite his tremendous skill, Forsberg, 22, has just one point in the Stanley Cup Final, a matchup between his Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After being shutout 6-0 in Game Five on Thursday, Nashville’s worst game of the postseason, the Predators are facing elimination for the first time this year. They know their best scorer must contribute. Forsberg’s lone point was in Game Four, when he scored an empty netter in a game Nashville already had in the bag.
Still, Forsberg’s nine goals and 16 points in the playoffs comfortably outpace his teammates. That should be both heartening and worrying for the Preds, who could see the Cup awarded to the Pens on Sunday in their home barn, a building Predators fans have made one of the loudest in the league, which the entire city, including the Predators organization, takes great pride in.
After the Predators’ practice Forsberg was asked about whether he was getting enough opportunities. He declined to answer, giving a trite answer about team production. A little while later, your correspondent asked if there was anything he specifically has noticed during the series that he can improve on.
“I think obviously a lot of guys, including me, are looking to get better, looking to help the team more,” Forsberg said. “It’s not really about what I can do. It’s about what the team can do.”
Despite his deflections, it is clear Forsberg knows he needs to find the back of the net more than other players on the roster. His job is to score.
Forsberg has had his chances, registering 16 shots on goal during the championship round. This postseason, Forsberg has been strong on the puck. Over 58 percent of shot attempts go Nashville’s way with him on the ice.
“Throughout the year he was one of our top players,” Predators forward Colin Wilson said of Forsberg, who had 31 goals and 58 points in the regular season. “He’s been one of top players in the playoffs. You see the goals coming. He’s making great plays out there.”
It’s just a matter of time before Forsberg finds the back of the net again. The Predators, however, may only have 60 minutes left in their season.
Headline photo: Bruce Bennett
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.