You’ve heard it plenty of times over the years as we’re in the month of February, or the month of “Filbruary” if you’re a Nashville Predators fan.
The nickname for this month started to catch fire when Filip Forsberg started heating up throughout the course of a regular season, and really take off in the month of February. The Predators have 10 games this month, and yes, they need Forsberg to show why a whole month is named after him.
The Predators return to the ice to play the Vegas Golden Knights in two days to complete their 11 days off during the 2023 NHL All-Star break. Forsberg ended a six-game goal drought in the thrilling win over New Jersey to go into the break.
Looking Back at the History of “Filbruary” for Forsberg
In the 2016-17 season, Forsberg completed his third-straight season of playing in all 82 regular season games. He was becoming a core player as the Predators were in Year 3 under head coach Peter Laviolette‘s more aggressive offensive approach.
But before we talk about the season that eventually saw the Nashville Predators surprise the NHL world by making it to the Stanley Cup Final as a No.8 seed, we have to go to the year before to find the true birth of “Filbruary”.
The Predators were coming off a season of finally getting back to the postseason after a two-year drought and parting ways with the franchise’s only head coach in it’s still young history, Barry Trotz.
Laviolette led the Nashville Predators to 104 points in the standings while Forsberg finished fourth in the Calder Trophy voting for NHL’s best rookie.
In February 2016, Forsberg would go on an offensive eruption that this franchise had never really seen from such a young player. Forsberg would score 12 goals that month, including two hat tricks over a three-game span.
The following February in 2017, “Filbruary” really started to catch on as Forsberg would yet again post a couple hat tricks in the same month, and this time in back-to-back games against Calgary and Colorado. He would also notch a five-game goal streak with 10 goals over that span.
Since then, the month of February has been hit or miss for Forsberg. We know his scoring can come in bunches, and most recently over the last two years Forsberg has scored five goals in the month of February.
Last season, Forsberg played in just eight games in February and tallied nine points overall. He would go on to finish with 42 goals, just one behind his teammate Matt Duchene for the franchise record for a single season.
Looking Back at “Filbruary” since 2016
-2016: 12 goals, 2 Hat Tricks, 4 assist, 13 Games
-2017: 11 goals, 2 Hat Tricks, 6 assist, 5-Game Goal Streak
-2018: 2 goals, 6 assist, 11 Games
-2019: 3 goals, 7 assist, 3 Asst Game vs FLA, 14 Games
-2020: Zero Goals, 6 Assist
-2021: 5 goals, 8 assist, 5 Point Game vs. FLA
-2022: 5 goals, 4 assist, 8 Games
The Nashville Predators Desperately Need “Filbuary 2023” to Happen
A “Filbruary” similar to 2016 and 2017 is what the Nashville Predators really need to remain in the thick of the playoff race coming out of the All-Star break. I have a difficult time believing that the way the Predators have been winning some of these narrow, low-scoring games is sustainable down the stretch against some of the more high-powered offenses in the NHL.
Forsberg sits at 19 goals this season and his goals per game pace is way behind last season’s pace, but around his normal career average of 0.39.
There’s a lot of pressure surrounding this Predators team after the All-Star break. They’re right there on the cusp of being back where many think they should be with the talent on paper, and that’s a playoff caliber roster.
Correct linemates mean everything, and I would love to see Head Coach John Hynes explore putting Juuso Parssinen back on a line centering Forsberg and Duchene. I can see that line really erupting if coaches stick with them consistently.
All eyes will be on Forsberg and the offense to see if it bottled up the positive momentum it had going. A February goal scoring hot streak from Forsberg will give this team a great chance of continuing its surge up the standings and gradually improving those postseason odds.