NASHVILLE - Shea Weber and Alexander Radulov couldn't have asked for a better way to mark their return to Nashville on Tuesday night.
Many people might have thought that things weren't going to work out in the Canadiens' favor when they surrendered the game's opening goal late in the second period - even though they were dominating the Predators in both shots and scoring chances alike.
After that tally, though, the pair decided to take matters into their own hands.
In his first game in front of the Bridgestone Arena faithful since his departure from Music City, Weber, the former Predators captain, registered the game-tying goal early in the final frame, capping a solid sequence started by Radulov.
For a fourth straight game, the Canadiens needed overtime to settle the score, and the Russian forward was again the man responsible for setting the table for a dramatic finish as he connected with Max Pacioretty with 30 seconds remaining in the period.
Well aware of just how special this particular contest was for Weber and Radulov alike, the rest of their Canadiens teammates were more than happy to help them leave Tennessee with a 2-1 win in the bank.
"We're just so happy to get the win for those guys. They would never admit it those two, but as a group we knew that we wanted to get this win. It would be a little bit extra special," admitted Pacioretty, who was struck with a puck during a power play practice drill at the morning skate, but was still able to play against the Predators. "Seeing that tribute and seeing some people tear up, on the bench and in stands, it's just really, really neat for both of them to get points in that fashion.
Speaking of the tribute that the Predators offered up in Weber's honor, the Canadiens' No. 6 admitted that he really didn't want to look at the video presented on the scoreboard during a TV timeout because it would have been far too emotional for him. While it truly touched him, the most important thing, according to the veteran rearguard, was that the team was moving on to Dallas with two more points in the bank.
"It was pretty special, obviously. It meant a lot. But, after that it just felt like hockey and playing the game. I thought we played a really good game," said Weber, who scored his 10th goal of the season on Tuesday night. "It feels good to win, so whether it's scoring a goal or blocking a shot, tonight it just happened to be scoring a goal. It was big and obviously Max got the big one in overtime."
Radulov, who registered his 19th and 20th assists of the year in the win, had said earlier in the day that he fully expected not to be receiving the same type of welcome Predators fans had in store for Weber in his first trip back to the area. Making his first appearance in Nashville since April 2012, Radulov was booed every single time he touched the puck.
But, just like he's done ever since his return to the NHL earlier this season, Radulov continued to demonstrate that he always can be impact player, especially when it counts the most. That's why he wasn't at all distracted by the fans expressing their opinions from the stands.
"It's just a game. I can't really control that. They're fans, they're buying the tickets and they're allowed to do whatever they want," said Radulov, who has 28 points in 36 games during the 2016-17 campaign. "The team played good. We played solid all three periods. It doesn't matter if they boo. It feels good, but it's just one game. We've got to fly and play tomorrow."
And, that game will be played against the Stars at the American Airlines on Wednesday.