ANAHEIM, Calif. – It was a night of firsts for the Nashville Predators – first overtime playoff win, first Game 5 win and the first time the Preds have won as many as three games in a series.
The two heroes are from opposite ends of the spectrum.
Captain Shea Weber, whose goal with 35.3 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 3-3 and forced overtime, is the Preds' captain and an All-Star. Jerred Smithson, who scored the winning goal 1:57 into OT to give Nashville the 4-3 win at the Honda Center on Friday night, is the prototypical Predator – a hard-working grinder who's more likely to be stopping an opponent from scoring a goal than putting the puck in the net himself.
Both spoke with the media after the Game 5 victory.
Q: This was the biggest goal in Preds history?
A: I've never really thought of that. I went to the net and I'm going to give my linemates all the credit. They created that opportunity and Toots (Jordin Tootoo) made a great pass. Anyone in that position just wants to get it off quick and hit the net and it found a way into the back of the net.
Q: What does it mean to you?
A: It feels great. It hasn't really sunk in yet. Any way I can contribute. I don't score a lot of goals, but I take pride in the faceoff circle and try help out the team in other ways. But to contribute offensively definitely feels good.
Q: When was the last time you scored a playoff overtime goal?
A: Minor hockey? It's been a long time. Like I said, I don't get too many opportunities -- but it's definitely something that feels pretty good.
Q: How much energy did you guys get from Weber's goal?
A: It was huge. We've got a lot of heart in this locker room and a lot of belief. It was a great faceoff win by Fish (Mike Fisher), and Webbs getting the shot off quick and finding a way to tie it up was a huge momentum boost. In overtime, my linemates did all the work.
Q: You're known for the cannon (slap shot), but you got it done with the wrister?
A: Yeah. It just found a way in. Sometimes it doesn't have to be hard. Just get traffic and it goes in.
Q: Is it just one of those things – 35 seconds to go and everybody is expecting the Ducks to walk out of there with a W and then, bang?
A: It's just one of those situations. We have character in this room and we found a way to battle back and win it in overtime.
Q: Sixteen shots on net in the third period. Was the message from the coaching staff, ‘Stop messing around and start firing the puck'?
A: Without a doubt. First things first -- we've got to get it down low in our end. Once we get it down, we've just got to get shots and opportunities.
Q: You have a chance to eliminate them in your building?
A: It's one more game. They're not going to lie down here. They're going to come out with their best effort just like they have. We've got to make sure we're ready.
Q: Talk about the way the Smithson-Tootoo-Spaling line played tonight?
A: They're great. A lot of times they don't get as much credit as they should because they're just shutting guys down and not scoring a whole lot of goals, and tonight they scored the biggest goal of the season so far.