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Preds Top Plays in February

by Thomas Willis / Nashville Predators
The year's shortest month was actually one of the busiest for the Nashville Predators with the club playing 15 games in 28 days. Nashville won 10 contests over the four-week span and concluded February in first place in the entire NHL.

From dominating five-goal wins over San Jose and Colorado to goaltender Carter Hutton notching the clear save of the year, there was once again a plethora of highlights to look through.

See below the definitive rankings of the Preds top goal, assist, hit and save of the month. 

Top Goal of the Month:

Calle Jarnkrok blocks, skates, dekes and scores: Seconds after the Predators had fallen behind 1-0, Calle Jarnkrok pulled off an impressive individual effort to even the score. To begin the play, Jarnkrok rushed Avs D-man Stefan Elliott and blocked his shot attempt at the Predators blue line; then the forward chased down the puck before deking and putting the puck upstairs past Semyon Varlamov.

Top Goal of the Month (Honorable Mention):

Eric Nystrom fools Marc-Andre Fleury for a goal: Eric Nystrom delivered the nail in the coffin in a Predators 4-0 win over the Penguins to begin February. Initially, Nashville forward Taylor Beck stripped Sidney Crosby of the puck and knocked it toward the Penguins crease. Nystrom then collected the biscuit, faked Fleury to the ground and tallied his sixth of the season.

Best Pass of the Month:

Two cross-ice passes create a game-winner: Under four minutes remained in regulation when Mike Ribeiro and Victor Bartley dished out two long-range passes before Colin Wilson buried the in-tight chance. Ribeiro began the play by patiently skating up the wall and finding Bartley at the left circle. Almost immediately, the Preds blueliner fired the puck back across the ice to Wilson who slammed the winning tally into the cage. 

Best Pass of the Month (Honorable Mention):

Gabriel Bourque spinning feed leaves Paul Gaustad with an open-net chance: With the Predators up 3-1 on the Sharks, Gabriel Bourque pulled the Sharks D to himself and then fed Paul Gaustad for a "rare" fourth-line tally. Watch as Bourque attracts Brenden Dillon away from the slot and then turns to give Goose the puck right in front of the cage for a wide-open score.

Hardest Hit of the Month:

Victor Bartley says "no" to a Penguins cycle: Pens defenseman Derrick Pouliot thought he was going to pinch down the right wing to help Pittsburgh keep possession in the offensive zone. Victor Bartley had other ideas.

Hardest Hit of the Month (Honorable Mention):

Filip Forsberg pulls off the Peter Forsberg/Pavel Datsyuk:
When there's a loose puck, both an offensive and defensive player are entitled to check an opponent near the biscuit. Justin Braun of the Sharks was reminded of that when he was shocked to see Filip Forsberg lung back and throw a hit when the pair were skating toward a free puck.  

Incredible Save of the Month:

Carter Hutton defies logic with diving, spinning stick save: Netminder Carter Hutton took the sports world by storm when he defined the word "save" with his incredible stop against the Maple Leafs. The puck appeared destined to cross the goal line and tie the game for Toronto when Hutton, seemingly with eyes in the back of his head, reached back and knocked the puck to safety with the paddle of his stick.

Incredible Save of the Month (Honorable Mention):

Pekka Rinne stops one, two, three and maybe more: Pekka Rinne hates giving up goals and each game he uses whatever it takes to keep the puck out of his net. In a 5-1 victory over the Sharks, Rinne used pad, chest, head and arm saves to deny three different San Jose players on a single play. He even threw in one more stop after the whistle just for good measure.

February provided what might be the richest set of highlights to this point in the season, so unfortunately there were a few that had to be left out. Tell us what your favorite goal, save, assist and hit were in February in the comments below.

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