The Nashville Predators got their first win of the preseason on Sunday night at Bridgestone Arena by a 2-0 score and may have also found a potential third line for the regular season in the process.
Gabriel Bourque, David Legwand and Filip Forsberg led the way for the Predators with solid play all night long. Bourque scored the first goal of the game for the Predators in the second period on a fantastic feed from Forsberg.
“The first goal was off a forecheck and quick support, and Filip made a real good play, [Bourque] got open and was able to stick it in the net,” said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz. “They looked like they were a good line today.”
It looked like Forsberg was trapped in the corner with the puck, but he was able to escape while Bourque was heading straight toward the net. Bourque seemed to have no doubt Forsberg was going to be able to find a way to get him the puck despite the heavy congestion around the net.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” Bourque said. “We know he’s good. We saw him play last year, and he’s pretty calm with the puck. I knew he was going to put it on my tape, and I just had to put it in.”
The line of Bourque, Legwand and Forsberg looked like they got better as the game went along, forming more and more chemistry. It’s hard to judge a performance in a preseason game because the level of competition will go up when the regular season begins, but it did look like they have the potential to be a formidable threat moving forward if they are kept together on a line.
“I think we did well. The first period was a little harder, but I think the second and third went well. Forsberg is a young kid but really good, and not a lot of guys can make that kind of pass. We played well. Sure, we have some stuff we have to work on but for the first game it’s pretty good,” Bourque said.
Legwand didn’t appear on the score sheet for the Predators, but he played a solid two-way game. It’s about what has come to be expected from Legwand, who is entering his 14th full season of NHL play. He provides a good veteran presence to two young players in Bourque and Forsberg.
“He gives us confidence,” Bourque said. “When he’s got the puck, you know he’s not going to make a mistake. It’s either going to be a smart play or an amazing play, so it’s nice to play with him. You have a lot of confidence when you go on the ice with that guy. He’s played like 12 or 13 years in the league, so it’s pretty cool.”
With the current roster, it’s likely that Bourque, Legwand and Forsberg would be Nashville’s third line if they were kept together. That would be a formidable third line because each possesses the ability to contribute offensively as well as the ability to take care of business in their own end.
“I think we would be a good offensive line. We’re not afraid to track and play in the D-zone either, so I think we’d be a good line. I would like to play with them, for sure,” Bourque said.
While the Predators may have found a possible line combination in Bourque, Legwand and Forsberg, they also got something that has been hard to find since early last season: A win.
“We didn’t get a lot of wins at the end of last year, and then we took 60 guys up to Florida and we didn’t get a win. I thought we should’ve won the second game. We played, I thought, really well in that game and really didn’t give them much and should have got a win, but the other two games we either got jumped on early or jumped on late if you will,” Trotz said.
The Predators didn’t get jumped on at all on Sunday night, which is big for their psyche even if it is just preseason. They’ll take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night for the second and final home preseason game.