Nashville Predators: December Awards For Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 19: Craig Smith /
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Best Performance By A Goalie: Juuse Saros, December 14 at Edmonton Oilers

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

I’ve been critical of Juuse’s performance this season. We keep waiting for somebody to take the load off of Pekka Rinne‘s back, and it keeps not happening. Saros has had some rough games in 2017. Many will say it’s due to poor performance in front of him. To me, that seems like making excuses.

Either way, Saros was ready to play on December 14. The Predators offense may have worn itself out the night before while scoring seven goals against Vancouver. Second nights of back to backs can be rough for goaltenders, and Saros faced an onslaught from an Edmonton Oilers team with plenty of offensive weapons. That Connor McDavid guy is pretty good, right?

The Oilers fired forty-six shots at Saros, and Saros made forty-six saves. Rinne hasn’t faced that many shots in any game he’s played this season. For one night at least, the student out-shined his teacher. Saros ended December with another shutout, which is a great sign for Nashville’s goalkeeping situation heading into 2018.

Best Predators Picture: Peter Laviolette dressed for the season

The Nashville Predators’ coaches promised the players that they would wear ugly Christmas suits if the Preds collected 5 out of 6 points on the Western Canada trip, or if they went ahead and won all three games. That happened, so we got this:

Yeah. You can’t get mad at a shootout loss when the coaches are dressed like that. I have to say it’s a much better look than the Colonel Sanders suit that Rick Pitino busted out for Louisville white-out games.

Best Predators Game: December 13 at Vancouver Canucks (7-1 win)

This reminded me of a good old fashioned pro wrestling squash match. The Nashville Predators played the role of the featured superstar. The Undertaker. Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Name your favorite from back in the day. The poor Vancouver Canucks were stuck in the Barry Horowitz role, executing little offense & taking all of the star’s big moves. Even worse, it was one of those squash matches where the star was extra mad for some reason, so the poor loser had to take multiple finishing moves. It started off innocently enough, as the Predators only scored two goals in the first period. Vancouver got the margin to 3-1 at 5:01 into the second period. Then the beatdown was on. Nashville added one more goal in the second period & three in the third period to produce their highest scoring effort of the season.

When P.K. Subban‘s getting goals from center ice there isn’t much you can do about it.