Forsberg nets 2 goals, Predators top Canucks 3-1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Filip Forsberg is at the center of early conversations about NHL rookie of the year contenders. The young Nashville Predators forward showed why against the Vancouver Canucks.
The 20-year-old Swede scored twice and added an assist, and the Predators held on for a 3-1 win over the Canucks on Sunday night.
Forsberg leads NHL rookies with 11 points in 11 games. His go-ahead goal in the third period displayed how quickly he is adapting to the pro game.
As for the rookie of the year talk, Forsberg is politely shrugging it off.
''It's nothing I really pay attention to. It's more you guys (media) reminding me of it,'' Forsberg said. ''If I can contribute to the team in the points department, I am more than happy to do that.''
Forsberg's winner came when James Neal powered his way in for a shot, but fanned on it. Forsberg skated in behind Neal and lifted the puck past goalie Eddie Lack to make it 2-1 at 6:42 of the third period.
''He's getting better every night,'' Neal said. ''I was in the same position he was, so it's fun to help him, and he's been good. He had a great night. He shoots the puck well and he's just going to keep getting better.''
Colin Wilson also scored, and Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for the Predators (7-2-2), who won for the second time in three games of their six-game road trip.
Defenseman Alex Edler scored the only goal for the Canucks (8-4), who had a four-game winning streak snapped before they head out on a trip through Colorado and California.
Lack, making his first start since allowing seven goals at Colorado on Oct. 24, stopped 30 shots. No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller had the night off after earning a 3-2 win at Edmonton on Saturday.
Lack is still searching for his first win after three starts this season. He played much better than his previous outing and he is trying to remain upbeat.
''Somehow the puck keeps finding a way in, and I keep finding ways to lose the games,'' a dejected Lack said. ''I feel like I have to keep working and staying positive. It's tough right now, for sure.''
Vancouver took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal midway through the first period. Defenseman Luca Sbisa leveled Predators forward Taylor Beck against the boards, earning the ire of Nashville captain Shea Weber, who dropped his gloves and went after Sbisa.
Just 24 seconds into Weber's roughing penalty, Edler fired a shot from the point that got through traffic and beat Rinne at 11:10.
Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who doesn't wear a visor, left the game shortly after when he took a puck in the eye behind the Nashville net. He didn't return to the game.
Canucks coach Willie Desjardins didn't give an update on Bieksa, but Bieksa was seen leaving the arena with a doctor.
Lack looked sharp midway through the opening period when he made a great pad save on Mike Ribeiro's drive from the slot. He finished the period with 11 saves.
''He played real good,'' Desjardins said about Lack. ''He would probably like the third one back, but he played well and gave us the chance we needed.''
With the Canucks serving a penalty for too many men early in the second, the Predators were given a gift to tie the game as defenseman Dan Hamhuis tipped Forsberg's shot into his own net.
Vancouver recorded only three shots in the period.
''It's just the way the winds blows right now,'' Lack said. ''Getting a lot of bounces off the wrong guys.
''The first win is going to come.''
Minutes after the goal, Canucks forward Tom Sestito was helped to the dressing room because of a lower-body injury. He didn't return.
The Canucks came out with more energy in the third and peppered Rinne, firing more pucks at him in the first three minutes than in the entire second period.
However, Nashville jumped ahead on Forsberg's second goal, Wilson added insurance with under two minutes to play with a shot over Lack's shoulder for his first goal of the season.
''They have a deep lineup with a lot of threats on different lines,'' Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. ''You have to be focused every time you're on the ice.''
NOTES: The Canucks will begin their trip Tuesday in Denver and then play three games in California. ... Nashville's next stop on its trip is Tuesday at Winnipeg. ... This was the first of three meetings between these teams. The next two are in Nashville on Jan. 13 and March 31. ... Prized Canucks prospect Bo Horvat was recalled from Utica of the AHL. He is likely to make his NHL debut on Tuesday.