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Forsberg's hat trick helps Predators beat Avalanche

By: TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
February 23, 2017 Updated: February 23, 2017 at 9:33 pm
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photo - Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9), of Sweden, celebrates after scoring a goal against Colorado Avalanche goalie Jeremy Smith (40) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9), of Sweden, celebrates after scoring a goal against Colorado Avalanche goalie Jeremy Smith (40) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Filip Forsberg scored his second straight hat trick, and the Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 Thursday night to sweep the season series between the Central Division teams.

Forsberg, who now has a team-high 22 goals, has five goals combined in his last two second periods. Forsberg, who scored three times in the second period of Tuesday night's overtime loss to Calgary, got the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 36.5 seconds left.

Viktor Arvidsson also scored a goal, and Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen each added two assists as Nashville won its fifth and final game against Colorado this season.

Goalie Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for the win after being pulled Tuesday night.

Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who have lost three straight. Peter Wiercioch also had a goal.

Both teams hit iron in the opening minutes with Colorado center Matt Duchene hitting the post on a 2-on-1, while Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban hit the crossbar with a long shot.

The Predators got the first power play when Andreas Martinsen went into the box for interfering with Rinne. The Avalanche killed off the penalty.

The Predators scored seconds after the power play ended. Craig Smith found Arvidsson skating up the slot with a pass, and Arvidsson scored his 19th this season at 11:31 of the first.

The Avalanche tied it up with a bit of luck late in the period. John Mitchell's shot went off Iginla's right skate and beat Rinne between his pads with 2:08 left.

Colorado took a 2-1 lead at 2:34 of the second when Wiercioch's shot jumped over Rinne's glove.

Forsberg took over. He tied it up at 5:26, then the Swede gave Nashville the lead at 10:59 with his second goal of the period.

Arvidsson had a chance at a second goal himself off a cross-ice pass from Forsberg with 6:27 left in the second only to be stopped by Smith at the post with an impressive save. Smith kept the Avalanche close making 10 saves in the second with Colorado taking only three shots.

In the third, the Avalanche cranked up the pressure only to be stopped by Rinne.

NOTES: The Predators improved to 18-2-5 when scoring first, which is the fewest regulation losses in the NHL. ... Forsberg now has six points (five goals, one assist) in five games. ... Forsberg tied Steve Sullivan (four) for most hat tricks in franchise history. ... Josi now has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine games since coming off injured reserve. ... Smith started the second game of his career. ... Iginla's goal gives him 619 for his career, now six behind Joe Sakic for 15th all-time.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Host Buffalo on Saturday night.

Predators: Host Washington on Saturday.

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