The Nashville Predators are currently 16-5-2. That’s good for 34 points across their first 23 games. They currently sit in second place in the league (Pittsburgh is only claiming first because they went head-to-head with Nashville and came out victorious) and first place in both the Central Division and Western Conference. Nashville has only lost by three goals once so far this season (against those pesky Penguins I mentioned earlier). Of their other four regulation losses, they have lost by two goals once, and only one goal three times. Their two overtime losses came during shootouts. Needless to say, things are going very, very well for the Nashville Predators.
Astounding rookie Filip Forsberg took home the title of NHL Rookie of the Month for November. He finished the month with 9 goals (including 3 game-winners) and 6 assists. Forsberg has 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists), good for a point-per-game through 23 appearances. This feat has only been accomplished by three other rookies in the past decade: Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin. Forsberg tops all rookies with his plus-20 rating, 10 goals, assists (13-tied), points (23), power-play points (6-tied), game-winning goals (3) and shots on goal (70). If he keeps this rate up, we could see Forsberg’s name engraved on the Calder Cup Trophy at the end of the season.
When Forsberg was asked about his success thus-far, he stated, “There are a lot of good rookies, so I guess that makes it even more special. It’s been a fun month and it’s a nice [recognition]…I’m trying to enjoy things as much as I can, especially with the ups and down of last season. Every guy’s dream is to play in the NHL and I’m doing that right now, and having success, so it’s been great.”
Another Nashville player to gain an NHL honor for November was goaltender Pekka Rinne who was named the NHL Third Star of the Month. Rinne is currently boasting a 16-3-1 record through 20 starts. Rinne’s 16 wins rank first in the NHL, while his goals-against average (1.82) and save percentage (.933) both place second in the League in their respective categories.
The Predators are also finding a lot of success on home ice. They currently have a 10-1-1 record, good for 21 points. In the 2005-06 season, the club finished with the NHL’s best record at home (32-8-1), and the Preds claimed 20 points in their first 11 home contests. This campaign’s mark over the same time span is 19 points, a single point shy of the highest total ever achieved by the franchise.
Nashville’s success comes as a sigh of relief for their fans who have seen the Predators struggle over the past few seasons. It is certainly amazing what a coaching change and a few new faces can do for the success of an entire team. I, for one, could not be more happy.