The Predators are glad he played.
Weber scored the first goal of the game and the overtime winner as the Predators defeated the Devils 3-2.
And it was an improbable win.
Weber opened the scoring for the Predators as he blasted a slap shot past Cory Schneider that beat the scrambling Devils netminder through the five hole at 6:45 of the first period.
The Devils came back with two goals in the second period, both of which were goals Carter Hutton would like to have back.
Patrick Elias fired a shot that appeared to be going wide of the net. Hutton tried to snare it with his glove, but it popped out and dribbled over the goal line to tie the game at 13:00 of the second.
The Devils took a 2-1 lead when Jaromir Jagr tallied his 17th goal of the season. Jagr beat Hutton with a wrist shot that got between Hutton and the post at 18:59 of the second period.
The Devils spent the third period aggressively forechecking the Predators and disrupting any offensive flow that the Predators tried to establish.
With the clock ticking down and Hutton pulled for an extra attacker, the Predators got the puck into the zone and Roman Josi fired a shot that Schneider kicked out to the stick of David Legwand. With Schneider out of position, David Legwand buried the puck into the open net with just 10.8 seconds remaining to tie the game.
In the overtime period, Michael Ryder had a breakaway just 80 seconds in, and Hutton came up big, stopping Ryder's backhand attempt.
The Predators rushed the puck into the offensive zone, and Colin Wilson made a drop pass to Weber. Weber launched a rocket over the glove of Schneider to give the Predators a come from behind win.
- Weber's 15 goals leads all NHL defensemen. His ability to work to the open ice and bury shots is critical for the Predators success. Nashville is 11-1-2 when Weber scores.
- Hutton allowed two brutal goals, but rather than hang his head, he continued to battle, His save on Ryder's breakaway was a thing of beauty. Hutton was generally solid, but he is prone to the soft goal, and tonight, it almost cost the team. I appreciate the fact that while he is not the most talented netminder in the NHL, he competes every night. Hutton is 6-1 in his last seven starts at home.
- Nashville is 19-2-5 when they score the first goal of the season.
- Nashville won for just the2nd time this season when trailing after two periods. This game tonight should help build the confidence of this young team, letting them believe that they are not out of a game when trailing going into the final frame.
- I like the pairing of Seth Jones and Michael Del Zotto. This is a mobile pair that can move the puck and Del Zotto has shown that he is not afraid to deliver a big hit, as he did tonight. If this pair can continue to gel, the Predators will have a solid second pairing.
- Despite the aggressive forecheck of the Devils, the Predators out shot them 33-26. This effort in the face of pressure from a talented team is a good sign of the effort of this team.
- The Predators are 3-1-1 in their last five games.
- Roman Josi has 10 points (3G-7A) in his last nine games.
The challenge is there.
Now we will see if the team can meet it.
My three stars:
1. Shea Weber
2. David Legwand
3. Patrick Elias