Shea Weber recorded at hat trick, but the Nashville Predators fell 5-4 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The hat trick was the first of Weber’s career, and the first by a Preds defenseman in franchise history, a moment that was tough for the Captain to appreciate after the loss.
“It was a tough game,” Weber said. “I thought we battled really hard. It was a quick game; they’re a quick team, and we talked about them being a puck-possession team, so you know they’re going to fight for the puck. They did that a lot better in the third than they did the other two, and we just have to find a way to win games.”
Detroit got a bounce with just 38 seconds to play in the first period after Pekka Rinne stopped a Brad Richards’ shot. The rebound caromed into the net off of Weber for a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Weber made up for that bounce at the 1:03 mark of the second stanza, as he one-timed a Roman Josi pass home on the power play to even the score at 1-1. Weber’s seventh tally of the season was his sixth on the man advantage.
Just 1:50 later, Viktor Arvidsson converted on a masterful deflection from just outside the crease, tipping a Ryan Ellis point shot past Petr Mrazek to give Nashville a 2-1 lead.
Weber’s redemption continued on another Predators power play, as the Captain’s point shot struck the glass behind the cage, bounced off of Mrazek and barely across the goal line for a 3-1 tally. Detroit, however, cut the lead to 3-2, courtesy of a Tomas Tatar goal on the power play before the period was out.
Weber got his third power-play goal of the game to complete the hat trick and give Nashville a 4-2 lead, again hammering home a shot from the blue line past Mrazek.
“He was great,” defenseman Roman Josi said of Weber. “His shot is unbelievable, but everybody knows that. He showed it again tonight with three unbelievable shots. He’s been great all year, and he really stepped up tonight.”
Down two scores, Detroit stormed back with goals from Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader before regulation was out to send the contest to overtime.
After back-and-forth play in the extra frame, Gustav Nyquist ended it for the Red Wings on a breakaway opportunity.
“It’s a tough loss,” Weber said. “The penalty kill is still struggling; we gave up two more, especially when we needed it and we just have to find a way. We have to battle through, stick together here and find a way to get those wins.”
The road trip continues in Boston on Monday night with a contest against the Bruins, and the Preds are hoping for a reversal in fortunes.
“We’re all dealing with it together,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We have a good group in there. We’ll stick together, and we’ll get ready to play the next game. All teams go through stretches; we’ll take our lumps along the way as well, but our guys came here, played a hard hockey game, it just got away from us at the end.”
The first hat trick by a Preds d-man is front and center in the evening's infographic.
Infographic: Weber's Hat Trick Not Enough
Paul Gaustad returned to the Nashville lineup after missing four games games with an upper-body injury. Gaustad played 15:43 and recorded a team-high five hits in the loss.
Saturday marked the first time this season Nashville has scored four regulation goals on the road.
The Predators head to Boston to face the Bruins on Monday in the first half of a back-to-back. They’ll then play in Chicago on Tuesday before heading home to host the Blackhawks Thursday.