The Nashville Predators concluded 2014 with the highest winning percentage in the NHL and as one of hockey's top clubs. With multiple wins over St. Louis and a near-perfect home record, the Preds produced plenty of memorable highlights during their tear through the League.
With Pekka Rinne maintaining his reign as the best goaltender in the game, Calle Jarnkrok cutting through the Wild defense and the team scoring at least five goals in a game three different times, the selection of the month's top video clips was again no small task.
See below our efforts at compiling the top goal, assist, hit and save of the month.
Top Goal of the Month:
Calle Jarnkrok spits the D, then dekes Kuemper too: Ten other goals across nearly 65 minutes of game time couldn't compare to Jarnkrok's dazzling tally that put the Preds on the board. The Swedish rookie won a puck battle near the half wall before cutting back through Mikko Koivu and Marco Scandella and in on the Wild's goal. Jarnkrok then had one more move up his sleeve as he faked out the Minnesota goalie and put the biscuit in the net.
Top Goal of the Month (Honorable Mention):
Preds Captain goes top shelf shorthanded: Defenseman Shea Weber cleared the puck out of the Preds crease and Roman Josi pushed the puck ahead against the Blues power play unit. Racing up the ice, Weber joined the rush for a 2-on-1 with his defensive partner and after taking the puck, put it top corner past Brian Elliott.
“That’s aggressive; that’s really aggressive,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of the shorthanded tally. “[Weber and Josi] both popped out of a hole as they approached the blue line. I think Roman just kept skating as hard as he could to get away from the defender behind him, and they were able to jump up. It was a big goal, obviously.”
Best Pass of the Month:
Tic-tac-toe from the nine line: Facing Martin Brodeur in his first game in the Blues net, all five Preds players touched the puck before Mike Ribeiro ultimately beat the future Hall-of-Famer on a one-timer. Incredible passing fueled the home team's offensive cycle and after the Nashville blueliners started the play, Filip Forsberg dished to James Neal who sent a sweet pass across the crease to Ribeiro for an "easy" goal. Gabriel Bourque's bank feed sends Filip Forsberg on a breakaway:
Best Pass of the Month (Honorable Mention):
In his first game back in the lineup in nearly a month, Bourque quieted the home crowd with a long-range pass that connected with the Preds rookie. Forsberg hopped over the boards before calling for the puck, taking the multiple line pass from Bourque and scoring one-on-one with Calvin Pickard.
“[Eric] Nystrom changed with Forsberg and he went between the two defensemen and then he was wide open,” Bourque said of the play. “I heard him yell at me right as he got off the bench and then I was able to get a pass through before he made a nice move on the breakaway. He’s pretty hot right now, so it was a great shot from him again.”
“It was such an awesome pass,” Forsberg said. “I came right off the bench from the change and I saw [Seth] Jones with the puck. I wanted it from him, but he sent it to Bourque and then he saw me and fired it up to me. I was lucky I was able to finish it.”
Hardest Hit of the Month:
Mike Fisher dumps Steve Ott: A good centermen always backchecks and Mike Fisher learned that lesson a long time ago. After the Blues claimed possession of the puck in their defensive zone, Fisher skated through center to protect the play from going too far the other way. When well-known agitator Steve Ott dumped the puck in the zone, Fisher made sure he wasn't skating in after it.
Hardest Hit of the Month (Honorable Mention):
Shea Weber sets the tone:
Currently the NHL's leading scorer, Flyer forward Jakub Voracek is in the midst of a season to remember. None of that really matters to the Preds Captain, however. Less than a minute into what would ultimately be a 4-1 Preds win, Weber dropped the forward in the corner with crushing hit. Vorachek was held without a point in the contest.
Incredible Save of the Month:
Pekka Rinne stops Scott Hannan and then Patrick Marleau: The game's ledger only shows a 2-0 Preds loss to the Sharks, but the play of Nashville's netminder within should not be soon forgotten. Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in the contest and notched numerous, jaw-dropping stops to keep his club within one of San Jose. On this particular play, Rinne stopped a wide-open Hannan on the doorstep before robbing Marleau while seated on the ice.Incredible Save of the Month (Honorable Mention):
Pekka Rinne saves the game twice:
The game was all on Rinne's shoulders when Milan Lucic broke in alone during overtime. The Finnish goaltender threw out a pad to deny Lucic initially and then added another save on Carl Soderberg's rebound bid. The two stops helped the Preds reach a shootout where Rinne again helped the team to a win.
Quite the way to close out the calendar year with this bevy of top plays. Like what you see? Let us know what your favorite goal, save, assist and hit of December was below in the comments.