Forsberg's first goal a big one as OT marker lifts Nashville over Detroit 4-3

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Forsberg scored at 2:11 of overtime Saturday night, giving the Predators a 4-3 victory over Detroit and pushing them past the Red Wings into first place in the Central Division.

"The team played great," Forsberg said. "There was a great atmosphere in the building."

Acquired from Philadelphia less than two weeks ago, the star forward earned his initial point with Nashville in the first period when he assisted on the first of Paul Kariya's two goals.

Kariya tied the score at three with 1:04 remaining in regulation, then made a nice pass to Forsberg for the game-winner. Kariya skated in from the right side and found Forsberg coming in from the left. Forsberg shot from close range, beating Detroit goalie Chris Osgood over his shoulder.

"It was an unbelievable pass by Paul," Forsberg said. "I thought we battled. It was great to score my first goal and get my first points. Our line will play better and better."

Tomas Holmstrom had three power-play goals for the Red Wings.

"Some nights it seems like the puck is just coming to you," Holmstrom said. "It was one of those nights."

Detroit had seven power-play chances overall.

"We were outplaying them five-on-five," Kariya said. "We just needed to stay out of the penalty box. We had trouble doing that all game, but the next time we play them we just can't give them that many opportunities."

There was one piece of bad news for Nashville: Scott Hartnell, who has 22 goals and 15 assists, will be out four to six weeks with a broken foot.

The Predators acquired Forsberg from the Flyers on Feb. 15 for forward Scottie Upshall, defenceman Ryan Parent and two draft picks.

"It couldn't be better," Forsberg said. "We beat Detroit at home, a team we are battling for first place. The team played great. We have to keep the momentum going."

Forsberg had 11 goals and 29 assists in 40 games for the Flyers this season, but had been hampered by an injury to his right foot that caused him to question if this might be his final season.

He left the game in the second period before returning.

"A puck hit the inside of my leg," Forsberg said. "It needed a couple of stitches."

David Legwand also scored for the Predators.

"I thought this was a heck of a hockey game," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "You had physical play. You had some great passes, good team defence on both ends and great special teams. It was probably a fitting finish that it be won in overtime."

Nashville struck first when Kariya scored from low in the left circle with a one-timer that went over Osgood's shoulder at 18:06 of the first. Forsberg had an assist on the play, his first point with the Predators.

The Red Wings came back strong in the second period. Holmstrom scored 38 seconds into the period when he shot a loose puck from the centre of the crease over goalie Tomas Vokoun, who was flat on his back.

Holmstrom struck again on the power play at 2:27 of the period. This time, he scored on a wrist shot from high in the slot that sailed by Vokoun to his stick side.

Legwand tied the game at 11:02 when he broke through two Detroit defenders and fired a backhander from low in the right circle that went high over Osgood's shoulder.

In the third period, Holmstrom scored when he shot a rebound from off the back wall by Vokoun at 14:52.

Late in the third, Kariya was skating low in the slot when Dan Hamhuis took a shot from the left point that Kariya directed over Osgood's left shoulder.

"It was a good hockey game," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought they were better than us early. I thought we were better than them late.

"What I liked was I thought the game was at a high level. I thought they were really physical early and we responded to that. I think we've got two real good teams here. It's going to be a lot of fun the next little while."

Notes: Nashville was missing two 20-goal scorers. In addition to Hartnell, Steve Sullivan sat out with an injury. ... The Red Wings and Predators have four meetings left this season. ... The Red Wings have eight power-play goals in their last three games.



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