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Weber: Back where the goals began

Shea Weber will be gunning for the hardest shot crown in the same building where his slapshot first paid dividends

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

ST. LOUIS - Tonight's Hardest Shot competition will afford Shea Weber the opportunity to relive a rather special moment - the first goal of his NHL career.

It came on April 6, 2006 when Weber's Nashville Predators were in St. Louis to battle the Blues at the then-named Savvis Center.

The recipient of a perfect one-time feed from teammate Yanic Perreault, Weber blasted a perfectly placed slapshot past goaltender Reinhard Divis at the 15:04 mark of the second period.

And it just so happened to be a power play goal, too, which was just another sign of things to come.

Fast forward almost 14 years later and the Canadiens' captain leads all active NHL defensemen with 215 regular-season goals.

He also ranks first with 102 markers with the man advantage as well.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Shea Weber de la pointe...��a vous surprend? 🤷���������Shea Weber from the point... does that really surprise you?#GoHabsGo

His weapon of choice has always been his slapshot - and rightfully so, of course. 

It strikes fear in the opposition and has gotten the better of many netminders over the years.

In fact, Weber's 111 slapshot goals since the 2009-10 campaign rank him second only to Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Ovechkin (133) in that department.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: En l���honneur des 100e et 101e buts en avantage num��rique de Shea Weber dans la LNH, revoyez les 21 qu���il a marqu��s avec les Canadiens jusqu����� pr��sent. 💥In honor of Shea Weber's 100 and 101st career power play goals, take a look at the 21 he's scored so far with the Habs.

Divis was the first of countless goaltenders who've fallen victim to Weber's howitzer.

After watching the goal clip for the first time since being scored on, his reaction was understandable.

"What a shot! It was a bomb," said Divis, 44, who was the first Austrian-born player in the NHL ranks. "I'm a goalie coach now and I wouldn't teach my goalies how I stood in the net back then."

Divis believes he was essentially helpless on the play. The sheer wickedness with which the puck came off Weber's stick was off the charts.

"There's basically nothing you can do. The interesting part is that you know what's coming, but you still don't have a chance to save it," said Divis. "In the NHL, the players are so good. If you cheat, they'll just make another play. If Shea didn't get the puck, maybe Paul Kariya would've scored or Perreault would've scored. It's pretty hard to be a goalie in this League."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Un boulet du capitaine.A bullet by Shea Weber.#GoHabsGo

Admittedly, Divis showed the clip to his 22-year-old goaltender son, Dominic, to get his feedback, too. 

The pair had a good laugh together at the elder Divis' expense.

"He didn't give me grief because Shea scored. That was the biggest compliment," joked Divis, who made 28 appearances over the course of his NHL career - all with St. Louis. "I was out far enough, just maybe too far when the play was on the left side of me. That's maybe why I couldn't get there in time when Shea took the shot."

Divis doesn't harbor any hard feelings about the goal. Instead, he's actually a real Weber fan and watches Canadiens highlights regularly to keep up with his favorite puck stopper - Carey Price.

"I have a lot of respect for guys like Shea who play this long at this level and stay healthy. He always plays against the best players, so for him it's even more intense," praised Divis. "And he's been successful. That shows how great a player he is."

Briefly being a teammate of general manager Marc Bergevin in St. Louis and Worcester (AHL) made him a Habs fan, too.

He fondly recalls Bergevin giving him a lift back to his hotel at the conclusion of a road trip, and he always appreciated the kind gesture.

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