Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Forsberg's Hat Trick Helps Preds Beat Leafs, Continue Success vs. Canadian Teams

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Forsberg's Hat Trick Helps Preds Beat Leafs, Continue Success vs. Canadian Teams

Article excerpt

Forsberg's hat trick helps Preds beat Leafs

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TORONTO - Filip Forsberg's first career hat trick helped the Predators continue their dominance of Canadian NHL teams on Tuesday night.

The 21-year-old's three-goal performance proved the difference for Nashville in holding off the young and feisty Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-2 victory at the Air Canada Centre.

The Predators improved to 11-1-3 in their last 15 games against teams based in Canada, while also picking up points on the road for the ninth-straight game (7-0-2) -- the longest such stretch in franchise history.

Nashville has outscored Canadian foes 47-28 during the 15-game string of dominance. They won Tuesday without captain Shea Weber, who is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Weber played nearly 29 minutes in Montreal on Monday night.

Forsberg, who had a hat trick in the playoffs last spring but never before in the regular season, is enjoying a dominant February with nine goals in 11 games. The 11th overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft has 23 goals this season, overtaking James Neal for control of the team lead with Tuesday's performance.

He scored in a variety of fashions against the Maple Leafs.

Forsberg broke free of the Toronto defence for his first goal, beating James Reimer in alone on an early first period power play. He added his second when Craig Smith lifted a Reimer hand-off behind the Leafs net, sneaking a shot through the goaltender's pads. He completed the hat trick with a point shot rebound.

"It was great," Forsberg said of the three-goal night. "It obviously put our team in a good spot (at) 3-0 and obviously it was all that we needed for tonight."

He credited Mike Ribeiro, his centreman of late, for his February surge.

Nashville, which holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, last lost in regulation on the road Jan. 12. The club is 9-3-3 in its last 15 games overall, holding off a furious last stand from the Leafs, who continue to languish with an ever-depleted and increasingly young lineup.

Toronto went down 3-0 before inching their way back. The club won a coach's challenge on a Ryan Ellis goal that was deemed to be offside and then scored twice in the third period on goals from Josh Leivo and Morgan Rielly. …

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