Martin Brodeur was seeing his first NHL action of the season – and first action as a non-member of the New Jersey Devils – Thursday night, but in one sense, at least, it was like the 42-year-old was back in his prime, because he was dealing with one of the game’s rising young stars with the surname Forsberg. Only this time, instead of trying to stop former Avalanche icon Peter Forsberg, Brodeur had to face Predators youngster (and no relation to Peter) Filip Forsberg. And on this night, at least, the younger Forsberg beat him thanks to a highly-skilled play.
Making his first appearance as a St. Louis Blue, Brodeur had a 1-0 lead behind him late in the first period and made the first save on Preds center Mike Ribeiro after a Blues turnover, but nobody could blame him for surrendering his first goal with the team when Forsberg demonstrated incredible hand-eye coordination and batted the rebound out of the air and past him: Read more
Prior to this season, the Nashville Predators had employed only one GM, one coach and one point-per-game player in their franchise history. We know the coaching ranks have swelled to two, and so could the point-per-game club with rookie Filip Forsberg.
The young Swede, whose rights were acquire from Washington for Martin Erat, has 23 points in 23 games and is a major reason why the Predators are the No. 1 team in this week’s thn.com Power Rankings. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.) Read more
With December closing in, the NHL has completed one-quarter of its regular season. (And as my colleague Ken Campbell points out, do not call this the quarter pole.) These points in the campaign always provide an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve seen so far and identify the teams that have stood out for the right and wrong reasons. With that in mind, here are the league’s three biggest pleasant surprises and bitter letdowns to this point:
Biggest pleasant surprises
NEW YORK ISLANDERS. When the Islanders started the season 6-4-0 in the month of October, fans and media were intrigued, if not bowled over; they’d seen the franchise do well in short bursts before, but it never lasted during the reign of GM Garth Snow. But in November, the Isles have been an orange-and-blue steamroller, losing only twice in 12 games since Oct. 30 and beating quality opponents – including Anaheim, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh (in both games of a home-and-home series last week). They’re currently riding a five-game win streak, and although there’s a chance they could fall back, as long as their key players can stay healthy, the Islanders should contend for a top-four seed in the playoffs. A big reason for that is Snow’s off-season acquisitions of Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, who couldn’t have worked out better thus far.
CALGARY FLAMES. Expectations for the Flames were about as low as could be entering the season, but under coach Bob Hartley, this young team has drastically exceeded them thanks to an impressive work ethic and some good fortune in the shooting percentage department. Many continue to expect Calgary will at some point take a step backward, but even if it all falls apart from here, what they’ve shown so far – thanks in large part to brilliant young talents such as rookie Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and the veteran calm of captain Mark Giordano – has earned them a special spot in the hearts of Flames fans. Read more
Since the Nashville Predators’ first season in 1998-99, they’ve lacked the type of elite young player capable of coming up big at key moments on a regular basis. But with every game rookie left winger Filip Forsberg plays – including the one the 20-year-old Swede played Thursday night against Edmonton – those days appear to be at an end.
Acquired in a trade with Washington for veteran Martin Erat that grows more infamous by the hour, Forsberg did what he had to do in a low-scoring game against the visiting Oilers, scoring the only goal in overtime to give Nashville its third straight win and an impressive 15-5-2 record:
After a post-goal thrown catfish celebration on Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators have been asked by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals to stop the practice.
The thrown catfish, a long-standing tradition of sorts in Nashville, came after Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis blasted home a point shot to tie the game at two apiece. You can watch the goal and the subsequent celebration here: Read more
There are always early season surprises. That’s just the nature of hockey. A lucky bounce here and there, and you have Jon Sim fighting for the lead in preseason scoring, which is something that has actually happened in the past.
Over the course of the year, however, these things tend to even out. At the quarter mark of the season, trends are starting to develop. Of those trends, you’ll notice some are related, while others, not so much. These are the ten most unexpected stats at the quarter-pole. Read more
Jimmy Hayes is going to have nightmares.
The Florida Panthers winger had the game-winning goal on his stick, and had all but raised his hands when Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne absolutely stole a goal.
Watch Rinne reach back and make a case for save of the year honors: Read more
By Namish Modi
For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators appear to have a bona fide top line.
The newly constructed unit consisting of Mike Ribeiro, James Neal, and Filip Forsberg, along with new bench boss Peter Laviolette, has the Predators (12-5-2) playing a much different style of hockey than years past.
“It’s a big difference from the past couple of years from how Nashville has been playing,” Forsberg said. “It’s all good, Peter coming here with a more attacking and offensive type of game, I think we’ve been adjusting to that really good so far, and we have to keep doing that and keep working hard.” Read more