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Shea Weber focused on winning in Nashville return

Canadiens defenseman unsure how to feel prior to first game against Predators

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Whatever emotions defenseman Shea Weber feels about facing the Nashville Predators for the first time since he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens will have to wait until he's back in Nashville to experience them first-hand.

Weber will play the Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; SNE, RDS, FS-TN, NHL.TV) after being traded by Nashville for defenseman P.K. Subban on June 29.

Subban will not play Tuesday because of an upper-body injury. His absence will draw more attention on Weber's return to Nashville, where he played his first 11 NHL seasons, including the past six as Predators captain.

"[Tuesday] is a game against the Nashville Predators," Weber said Monday. "It doesn't matter who's playing, they're a very good team. And when they're playing they're hard to beat. So we've got to make sure that we're on our game and we're going to get the two points."

Video: OTT@MTL: Weber blisters in one-timer for PPG

Weber said that the weirdest thing about returning to Nashville will be going to Bridgestone Arena as a visiting player.

"It will be a lot easier for me to describe probably after we go through it," Weber said. "It's tough to say what I'm going to feel because I really don't know right now. So once we get there, as long as I'm not a zombie going through the motions, I should be able to tell you a little bit more about how I feel."

Weber said he's kept in touch with his former Predators teammates and friends he made while living in Nashville.

"I had a lot of friends obviously," Weber said. "Played with a lot of guys for a long time and you still continue your friendships, obviously stay in touch with those guys. But at the same time there's no friends out there [Tuesday] and we want to win the game, hopefully more than them, and that will result in a victory."

Weber has nine goals and 12 assists in 37 games and leads the Canadiens with eight power-play goals, an average ice time of 26:02 per game and a plus-16 rating.

Video: BOS@MTL: Weber lasers PPG to open scoring

"I just think he's one of those guys that is just all about the team," Canadiens forward Daniel Carr said. "There's not really much about Shea Weber. It's more about the Montreal Canadiens with him. And I think that for us is big in terms of what we're trying to accomplish as a team. And when one of your best players is doing things like that it goes a long way."

Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin said he's not surprised about any aspect of Weber's play.

"Everything that was said about Shea, it's everything that's happening now; he's 25 minutes-plus every night against every team's top players, solid defensively, shut-down defenseman," Bergevin said. "Early on in the year I think the teams in the Eastern Conference got caught off-guard a bit by his, I wouldn't say shot, everybody knew, but the way they cover him on the power play. You saw against Boston when Brad Marchand lost his stick he followed Shea almost outside the blue line, so they take him away now. But overall he's just been, like I'll use Mike Babcock's term, a man mountain."

And Canadiens teammates realize what matters most for Weber about playing his former team is leaving Nashville with a win.

"It's probably a big moment going back," Carr said. "I mean, he started his career there and had a lot of success there. So it's a big night for him and I think as his teammates, all of us have just got to try and rally around him to make it a good one for him." 

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