The good times kept rolling for the Nashville Predators in the month of November as the club built upon their second best start in franchise history. The team ended the 11th month of 2014 in first place in the Western Conference with 34 points and a 16-5-2 record.
From the Preds scoring nine goals against the Maple Leafs, Pekka Rinne stopping every shooter he faced in the shootout, to Filip Forsberg making more dazzling plays, there were plenty of highlights to go through for the top plays of the month.
See below our efforts at compiling the top goal, assist, hit and save of the month.
Top Goal of the Month:
Filip Forsberg spins, shoots, ends the game: The NHL's top rookie had a goal in six-straight games during November and nine overall, but his best marker might have come in the final week of the month. With the game in overtime and Nashville and Edmonton still looking to light the lamp for the first time, Forsberg took matters into his own hands. The winger collected the puck near the left point and then completed a spin-o-rama before firing the game-winner over Viktor Fasth's blocker. And you thought he was done after hitting the post a few seconds earlier.
Top Goal of the Month (Honorable Mention):
Matt Cullen's full-out diving backhander: Defenseman Seth Jones fired a shot wide off a Craig Smith centering feed, and that's when Cullen laid out for the puck coming quickly off the end wall. The 38-year-old forward went horizontal to the ice in order to one-time the puck off the rebound from the wall and past the Oilers Fasth. The tally was one of three for Nashville in the first period, a game in which they held on for a 3-2 victory.
Best Pass of the Month:
James Neal with the perfect bank to Filip Forsberg: Down two goals to the Blues, the Preds player most known for his superb shot delivered a pass containing touch and creativity. In one of the best neutral zone plays you'll ever see, Neal took a feed behind center red and threw a puck off the boards and into the Blues zone. The biscuit landed right on Forsberg's tape (the forward had skated into the offensive zone moments prior on the "trust" play) and the winger slapped the puck home. Colin Wilson sends Craig Smith on a breakaway:
Best Pass of the Month (Honorable Mention):
The second-straight month for Colin Wilson making an appearance under the "Best Pass" category caps off perhaps the forward's best month in the NHL. On this particular goal, Wilson did well to get possession of the puck at center ice before hitting Smith in stride at the Kings blue line. Fortunately for Wilson, the Wisconsin native did the rest, beating L.A. netminder Martin Jones five-hole.
Hardest Hit of the Month:
Eric Nystrom decks Brayden McNabb: Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb is still trying to figure out which direction Nystrom came from. The Preds forward put his shoulder into the blueliner behind the L.A. net, separating McNabb from the puck and putting him on his wallet. Minutes later, Nystrom added to his second period performance by scoring the second of two Nashville goals in 52 seconds that gave the Preds a 3-2 lead.
Hardest Hit of the Month (Honorable Mention):
Colin Wilson makes a statement:
This hit is more about the improbability and the players involved than anything else. On a simple breakout, Wilson tapped the puck out of the zone before turning and throwing Dustin Byfuglien to the ice. Yes, Byfuglien is 44 pounds heavier than Wilson.
Incredible Save of the Month:
Pekka Rinne stops Jordan Eberle's penalty shot: A penalty shot in overtime remains one of the most exciting moments in all sports, and Rinne claimed the highlight on this occasion. With all the drama of the game on the line, the Preds goaltender patiently waited out Eberle before putting out his left pad to preserve the second point for Nashville.Incredible Save of the Month (Honorable Mention):
Pekka Rinne uses only the paddle of his stick:
How is this stop not No. 1 for the month? Frankly, I'm still not entirely sure. On the Panthers chance, Rinne fell backward and made the save with just the paddle of his lumber. Still in unbelief at the missed "open" net, Jimmy Hayes was only left looking skyward after Rinne's robbery.
This maybe an even better month for top plays compared to October's selection (check them out here if you need a refresher). Think you have a better play in mind? Let us know in the comments below.