Filip Forsberg Notches the Hat Trick, Nashville Predators Stomp the Blackhawks

Oh how sweet it is anytime the Predators take out the Blackhawks, and it's a four-game season sweep with the playoffs almost here.
Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks
Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

If there was any concern that the Nashville Predators would take their foot off the gas now that a playoff spot is officially secured, those qualms were quickly put to rest on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.

It was Filip Forsberg's world, and every diehard Blackhawks fan at the United Center were firsthand witnesses. Forsberg got the scoring going around six minutes into the first period enroute to his 11th NHL hat trick, including his postseason hat trick in 2015 against the Blackhawks.

Forsberg's first goal of the night, No.44 on the season, pushed him past Matt Duchene for the single-season franchise goal record.

Forsberg Passed Duchene, Blackhawks have Zero Answers

What was really cool about his 44th goal, besides the ridiculous accuracy that completely stunned Arvid Söderblom, was teammate Luke Evangelista quickly picking up the puck to get it to Forsberg for the milestone achievement.

The Predators asserted their dominance in this game. There was no sleepwalking, stumbling or lack of interested. This team that has adopted the "relentless" motto showed it even against a Blackhawks team that is listless and overmatched. Nashville came in like they chugged two Red Bulls and woke up the neighbors going for their 5 AM jog down the block.

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With their 46th win of 2023-24 and two games left, the Predators still have a chance at breaking the 100-point threshold. They're looking to hold off either Vegas or Los Angeles for the top wildcard spot.

It looks like it's probably down to three possible first round opponents for Nashville in the playoffs; Dallas, Vancouver or Edmonton. So pick your poison on that.

It was awesome to see Kevin Lankinen get the start against the team he began his NHL career with, but never got a long-term commitment from. Lankinen was originally signed as a free agent in 2022 for just $1.5 million, and we haven't given former General Manager David Poile nearly enough credit for making that wise move to be Juuse Saros' backup after the David Rittich debacle.

Lankinen gets 25 saves on 26 shots faced and has been an absolute road warrior for the Predators this season. His save percentage is up to a commendable .908 with a 2.83 GAA. Not too shabby at all for a backup.

Kiefer Sherwood and Jason Zucker would tally the other goals for the Predators. Sherwood has now reached double-digit goals on the season, and Zucker's speed he showcased to score his fifth goal since joining the Predators at the trade deadline was a thing to behold. Even at age 32, he still can turn on the jets.


It's a season sweep for the Predators over their bitter rival Blackhawks. The Predators won three of the four in regulation and notched 16 goals over the four games. The Blackhawks are just four points ahead of the Sharks for worst record in the NHL.

Now it will be interesting to see who else gets some rest in the last two games. Ryan McDonagh, Gus Nyquist and Saros sat out against Chicago, giving Cody Glass and Dante Fabbro a chance to get back into playing action.

We'll see if Forsberg gets to play in the regular season home finale or if the Predators take the cautious approach and rest him for the playoffs now that he already has the goal record. He his chasing 50 goals, but would need four in two games. Not impossible for this guy, but probably not worth the injury risk.

The Predators take on the Blue Jackets on Saturday and wrap up the regular season on the road at the Penguins.