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December to Remember? Predators End 2011 on Surprising Note


Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators had a season-month-high 9 home games and a total of 14 games in the month of December this year, facing off against some of the toughest competition in the Western Conference including a season-month-high 6 matchups against Central Division opponents.┬áStarting the month with a come-from-behind win versus the Vancouver Canucks and 2 straight home losses, it didn’t bode well for the confidence of a young Nashville team.

However, rattling off 5 straight wins after that and going a total of 8-3-0 after their 1-2-0 start, the Predators finished with one of their strongest December performances in their team history.

Finishing with a 9-5-0 record, the Predators recorded a franchise-tying 9 wins in December for the fourth time and also tied another franchise record with 6 home wins in December. This included 3 come-from-behind wins as well (6-5 win against Vancouver, 4-3 win against Detroit, and 6-5 win against Columbus).

A surprising statistic over the month has to be the special teams play. Nashville’s amazingly-potent powerplay has gone 13 for 41 (31.7%) over the month. Conversely, the Predators penalty kill has found itself full of holes, allowing 10 goals on 39 penalty kills during December (74.4%).

Yet, even in the midst of a great month, there are bound to be setbacks. Nashville wound up losing Kevin Klein, Shea Weber, and now Colin Wilson for extended periods of time.

Weber went down with a concussion suffered from a hit by Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric, Klein has been out with supposed flu-like symptoms yet was placed on the injured reserve before Trotz announced today that he would be back for tomorrow night’s game against Calgary, and Wilson missed yesterdays game and now tomorrow night’s game with an upper body injury.

Through the good and the bad, Nashville finished the month with two straight shootout wins against Minnesota and St. Louis, ending 2011 and December on a great note and giving the team a positive to look forward to in 2012. How will the Predators finish is anyone’s guess, but grabbing 9 wins in any month is going to go a long way for any team.