Forsberg’s 5-point night propels Predators past Ducks, 6-3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Filip Forsberg scored two goals in the third period of a five-point performance, and Matt Duchene added two power-play goals in the final minutes of the Nashville Predators’ 6-3 victory over the skidding Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
Forsberg capped his spectacular night by setting Nashville’s single-season record with his 35th goal, scoring into an empty net with 2:03 to play. He broke the franchise mark set in 2019 by Viktor Arvidsson, now with the Los Angeles Kings.
“We couldn’t let him keep it for too long when he’s not on our team anymore,” Forsberg said with a grin. “(Arvidsson) is one of my closest friends, but it feels good to take it from him, not gonna lie.”
Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen also scored for the Predators, who pulled even with Minnesota on points for second place in the Central Division with their seventh win in nine games.
Forsberg put the Predators ahead 3-2 early in the third period after a turnover by Max Comtois, and Duchene added his 33rd goal just 83 seconds later with a between-the-legs finish — something he hadn’t tried since childhood, he said.
Duchene wasn’t upset about Forsberg beating him past Arvidsson’s record with the empty-netter, noting there are still 19 games to play.
“We’ve gone back and forth,” Duchene said. “The great thing is we’re pushing each other, and it’s not like we’re not passing to each other. If you’re going to achieve greatness, you might as well do it together.”
Anaheim trimmed the Predators’ lead to 4-3 on its second goal from Derek Grant with 9:47 to play, but Duchene banged home a one-timer off a beautiful cross-ice pass from Forsberg moments later.
“We’re helping each other,” Forsberg said. “We’re trying to build that chemistry. It’s been getting better and better, and I hope it’s going to be a race all the way to the end.”
Juuse Saros made 21 saves for Nashville before leaving the ice with 12:49 left because of a problem with his skate. David Rittich played 44 seconds and made one save before Saros returned. He finished with 25 stops.
Troy Terry scored his 30th goal for the Ducks, who have lost seven straight (0-5-2).
John Gibson stopped 25 shots in the Ducks’ first game since new general manager Pat Verbeek completed his deadline sell-off by trading homegrown veterans Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell. Anaheim is all but certain to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, but Verbeek has built a big cache of high draft picks and young talent for the rebuild.
Trevor Zegras had two assists, giving him 30 this season and pulling him even with Cam Fowler for the most by a rookie in Ducks history.
Josi got the Predators’ offense started in the first period with the 18th goal of the Swiss defenseman’s outstanding season. Johansen then put the Predators ahead during a power play early in the second with his 17th goal.
Terry evened it during a delayed penalty, putting his shot into the top far corner. The All-Star forward is the 10th 30-goal scorer in Ducks history and the first since Rakell, who did it in 2017-18. Rakell was traded to Pittsburgh earlier Monday.
“Super proud of that kid,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said of Terry. “I think it’s a great example of being patient with a player and letting him develop. We’re really proud of Troy, and it’s a massive milestone for him.”
Forward Gerry Mayhew made his Ducks debut one day after they claimed him off waivers from Philadelphia.
Anaheim forward Jakob Silfverberg missed his sixth straight game, and the Ducks announced he has a blood clot in his right leg. The veteran won’t skate for at least a couple of weeks, but he hopes to play again this season.
Lindholm and Rakell were the last of four soon-to-be unrestricted free agents sent out the door by Verbeek in an acceleration of his rebuilding effort.
Verbeek said he determined several days ago that he couldn’t re-sign Lindholm, Rakell, defenseman Josh Manson or forward Nicolas Deslauriers to acceptable deals, so he used the fan favorites to accumulate draft picks that can be used to replenish Anaheim’s system or to make more moves. The Ducks now have 12 picks in the first two rounds of the next three drafts.
Anaheim also acquired Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon from Pittsburgh for Rakell. They are expected to report to the Ducks on Tuesday.
“I’m happy with how it’s turned out in getting those young players and now accumulating some draft picks,” Verbeek said. “It opens up the whole situation where I’ll be able to explore options over the next few months.”
Predators: At Kings on Tuesday.
Ducks: Host Blackhawks on Wednesday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports