Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook: Hawks, Predators Have Some High-Scoring Lines

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook: Hawks, Predators Have Some High-Scoring Lines

Article excerpt

CHICAGO * Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg helped power Nashville into the playoffs with a dazzling finish to the season. Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin piled up points for Chicago down the stretch, and Artem Anisimov is set to return from a left leg injury.

Two of the NHL's most dangerous lines face off when the Predators take on the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs, beginning with Game 1 on Thursday night in Chicago. The production of those potent trios could go a long way to determining which team advances to the Western Conference semifinals.

"I think our confidence is high," Forsberg said Wednesday. "The last part of the season I think we've been playing really good hockey and obviously produced against any team, really. So it's going to be a lot of fun and excited to get going, and hopefully we can be a key factor in the series."

Since Dec. 26, Forsberg ranks third in the NHL with 26 of his 31 goals. Kane is tied for fourth with 24 goals in that stretch, and Arvidsson is tied for ninth with 22. Arvidsson, who just turned 24 on Saturday, set career highs with 30 goals and 31 assists, and Johansen led the Predators with a career-best 47 assists.

Like all great lines, Forsberg, Johansen and Arvidsson can hurt opponents in a variety of ways.

"You got the speedy little shifty guy in Arvidsson that's everywhere and he's a good goal-scorer, too," Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "You reach the 30-goal mark, which is really tough to do in this league, and then you have Forsberg that's just a pure sniper, that you don't really notice him that much every game, but then he gets one chance and he just buries it right away. So you just have to be focused every single shift against that guy, and Johansen is a great playmaker."

Nashville dropped four of five against Chicago this season, but its top line had some success. Johansen had seven assists in the season series, Arvidsson scored three times and Forsberg had a goal and two assists.

"I just think in general, with the top lines, you want to play in the other team's end as much as you can," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. …

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