After putting up 22 points during a successful four game home stand, the Predators top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson has been incredible. No doubt much of that is due to Forsberg’s recent goal explosion, having scored eight goals in four games, but if you ask the Predators players and coaches, it’s more than just one guy.
“That line’s been great for us all year,” Ryan Ellis said after the game on Sunday. “Arvidsson’s speed, Filip’s skill, Johansen’s dishing ability... they kind of bring a bit of everything.”
The threesome has been one of the best combinations on the Predators in a long time—maybe ever?—and it’s a line that opposing teams have to account for every time they are out on the ice.
What makes them so good? Head coach Peter Laviolette thinks it’s about chemistry more than anything.
“I think they bring out the best in each other,” Laviolette said on Sunday.
And even though Forsberg has soaked up the majority of the spotlight with his recent offensive eruption, Laviolette was quick to point out that it’s not just one guy doing the work.
“I don’t wanna take anything away from [Arvidsson & Johansen]... they are playing terrific,” Laviolette said when asked about Forsberg making his linemates better. “Ryan’s playing great, Arvy has been rock solid from the start to this point in the year... I don’t want to put it just to one guy.”
But let’s be honest, it helps when a guy like Forsberg goes out and scores eight goals on 14 shots in four games. His skill shooting the puck is something that no one on the team can deny.
“He’s such a talented player,” Roman Josi said on Sunday. “You see him shooting in practice, he’s got one of the best shots in the league… you knew he was gonna break out some time.”
Noted goal scorer and recent fourth liner James Neal noted that Forsberg’s confidence level was a big reason for Forsberg’s recent outburst in goal scoring.
“You can see he’s got confidence when he’s got the puck on his stick… he’s got a great shot so he should use it as much as he can.”
Neal added: “It’s going in like crazy, so it’s fun to watch.”
With Forsberg, Arvy, and Joey all playing so well together, it’s hard to see this line ever getting split apart. However, Laviolette does have a history of shuffling his forward lines at the end of the year, just before the playoffs, to give guys some familiarity with other forwards before the postseason hits.
I have to think this line would be an exception to that. Especially if they continue to produce the way they have been over the last week.