BRITISH COLUMBIA

Filip Forsberg scores twice, sets up another to lead Preds over Canucks 3-1

11/03/2014 12:20 EST | Updated 01/02/2015 05:59 EST
VANCOUVER - Filip Forsberg is at the centre of early conversations about rookie of the year candidates — and Sunday night he showed why.

The 20-year-old Swede scored twice and added an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 at Rogers Arena.

Forsberg now leads all NHL rookies with 11 points in 11 games for Nashville and his go-ahead goal in the third period — his second of the night — displayed just how quickly he's adapting to the pro game.

And as for all that rookie of the year discussion, Forsberg is politely shrugging it off.

"It's nothing I really pay attention to. It's more you guys (media) reminding me of it," said Forsberg. "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, then fanned on it, before Forsberg skated in behind Neal and lifted the puck past Lack to make it 2-1 at 6:42 into the third.

"He's getting better every night," said Neal. "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 tonight. He shoots the puck well and he's just going to keep getting better."

Colin Wilson also scored and goalie Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for the Predators (7-2-2), who won for the second time three games into their six-game road swing.

Defenceman Alex Edler scored the only goal for the Canucks (8-4-0), who had a four-game win streak snapped before heading out for a tough away trip through California and Colorado.

Eddie Lack, making his first start since getting hammered for seven goals at Colorado on Oct. 24, finished the evening with 30 saves. Ryan Miller had the night off after backstopping his team to a 3-2 win at Edmonton the night before.

Lack is still searching for his first win of the season after three starts. He played much better than his last outing and says he just has to stay positive.

"Somehow the puck keeps finding a way in and I keep finding ways to lose the games," said a dejected Lack. "I feel like I have to keep working and staying positive. It's tough right now for sure."

It was midway through the first when the Canucks opened the scoring while on a power play. Defenceman Luca Sbisa levelled Preds winger Tayor Beck against the boards, earning the ire of captain Shea Weber, who dropped his gloves and went after Sbisa.

It was only 24 seconds into the roughing penalty to Weber when Edler blasted one from the point that snuck through traffic to beat Rinne at 11:10.

Canucks defenceman 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 did not return and the Canucks were forced to play down a D-man.

Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins didn't give an update on Bieksa after the game, but the defenceman was seen leaving Rogers Arena with a doctor.

Lack looked sharp for Vancouver midway through the opening frame when he made a great pad save on a Mike Ribeiro rocket from the slot. He finished the period with 11 saves.

"He played real good," said Desjardins about Lack. "He made some real good saves in the first and a couple real big saves. He was good enough. 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 on the ice early in the second, the Preds were given a gift to tie the game. Vancouver defenceman Dan Hamhuis tipped a Forsberg shot into his own net with surprising accuracy to make it 1-1.

"It's just the way the winds blows right now," said Lack. "Getting a lot of bounces off the wrong guys. I just have to keep staying positive here and keep battling. The first win is going to come."

Minutes after Nashville's goal the casualties piled up for Vancouver as Canucks winger Tom Sestito was helped off to the locker-room with a lower-body injury and he did not return.

The Canucks came out with more energy in the third, firing more pucks at the Finnish goalie in the first three minutes than all of the second period combined.

However, it was Nashville that would jump ahead with Forsberg's second before Wilson added some insurance with under two minutes to play with a snipe that went top shelf over Lack's shoulder.

"They have a deep lineup with a lot of threats on different lines," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. "You have to be focused every time you're on the ice."

Notes: The Canucks are hitting the road for a four-game road trip, starting Tuesday in Denver followed by three stops in California. ... Nashville's next stop on its current six-game road swing is Tuesday at Winnipeg. ... Sunday was the first of three meetings between the Canucks and the Preds. The next two are both in Nashville, Jan. 13 and Mar. 31. ... Prized Canucks prospect Bo Horvat was recalled on Sunday from Utica (AHL), but did not play and is likely to make his NHL debut on Tuesday.