The Nashville Predators' captain lifted his team to perhaps their
most dramatic win of the season Friday night, scoring his second
goal of the game at 1:29 of overtime to cap a 3-2 win over the New
Jersey Devils at Bridgestone Arena.
It was the 15th goal this season for Weber, tops among NHL
defensemen. It came in the first game after he left Tuesday night's
4-3 win in Winnipeg with an upper-body injury early in the third
Weber was termed "day-to-day" Thursday by coach Barry Trotz, but
came through the morning skate Friday in good shape and shouldered
his standard 25:57 workload.
"I think it was good Shea decided to play tonight," Trotz said. "I
think he should get more consideration (for the Norris Trophy)
because he's having his best year ever. He's one of the best at his
position, plain and simple."
"Our captain stepped up like he always does," Nashville goalie
Carter Hutton said.
So did Hutton (13-8-2), who stoned right winger Michael Ryder on a
breakaway in overtime, moments before Weber took a drop pass from
center Colin Wilson in the high slot and wristed a 24-footer past
goalie Cory Schneider (10-10-8).
Hutton's stop on Ryder was his 24th and final save, helping the
Predators (25-23-8) win for the fourth time in six games. They moved
within five points of Vancouver for the final playoff spot in the
Western Conference when the Canucks lost 4-3 at Winnipeg.
For Hutton and Weber to play starring roles in overtime, though,
Nashville needed a hero in the final seconds of regulation.
Enter center David Legwand. Taking advantage of some puck luck — defenseman Roman Josi's slapper from just inside the blue line
caromed off the stick of right winger Jaromir Jagr right to him — Legwand teed up a one-timer from the right faceoff circle and beat
Schneider at 19:49.
It was Legwand's 10th goal of the season and arguably his biggest
since potting a game-winner when the Predators eliminated Detroit in
the first round of the 2012 Western Conference playoffs.
"Putting together as many (wins) as you can before (the Olympic)
break will be huge," Legwand said. "Every two points you can get is
[to top of second column]
Meanwhile, New Jersey (23-21-12) had to settle for the
overtime point again as it lost for the third time in four games
and finished its three-game road trip through the Central
Division at 1-1-1.
"We played hard, put ourselves in a position to win and just
didn't close it out," said Schneider, who notched 30 saves. "We
kind of held them at bay, did the right things and then the puck
popped open to a wide-open guy on the tying goal. That's how it
After Weber's slapper initiated scoring at 6:45 of the first,
left winger Patrik Elias evened the score at 13:00 of the second
with his 11th goal. Elias snapped a 30-foot wrister in and out
of Hutton's glove hand as the sellout crowd of 17,207 groaned.
The 41-year old Jagr supplied his 17th goal of the season and
698th of a brilliant 20-year NHL career at 18:59 of the second
period to snap a 1-1 tie. Jagr's wrist shot from the right
faceoff circle appeared to hit Hutton's midsection and squirt
through an opening near the right goal post.
It appeared that Jagr would extend his NHL record for
game-winning goals to 123. But Legwand took advantage of a good
bounce, Hutton came up with a big save and Weber delivered the
"We just grind away," Weber said. "We just have to find a way
and that is what we are sticking to right now."
NOTES: New Jersey LW Patrik Elias' overtime goal in Dallas on
Thursday night was the 16th of his career, moving him past
Sergei Fedorov and Mats Sundin for second in NHL history.
Teammate RW Jaromir Jagr is the all-time leader with 18. ...
Nashville C Matt Cullen and LW Viktor Stalberg each missed their
third straight game with upper-body injuries sustained in a 5-4
shootout loss Jan. 24 in Calgary. ... Devils D Eric Gelinas was
sent back to the team's AHL affiliate in Albany on Friday.
Gelinas is second among rookie defenseman in scoring with six
goals and 16 assists in 44 games, but coach Peter DeBoer told
the Newark Star-Ledger that Gelinas needed to work on his
defense. ... Predators C Colton Sissons, who made his NHL debut
in Winnipeg on Tuesday night and drew an assist, got the start
alongside Paul Gaustad and Rich Clune.
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