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Weber's Pair Vaults Preds Over Blues

by Thomas Willis / Nashville Predators

A pair of goals for Nashville Predators Captain Shea Weber guided the home team to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday in front of 17,401 at Bridgestone Arena, the largest recorded crowd in franchise history.

The first shorthanded goal of the campaign for the Preds hit the twine at 9:02 of the third period when Weber finished off a 2-on-1 with defensive partner, Roman Josi. Nashville had tied the contest at two late in the second after overcoming a disallowed goal by scoring three seconds after the sequence.

“That was a big goal for us,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Gabriel Bourque’s marker to knot the contest at two. “We don’t really talk about coming back from losses or if we’re down one goal or if we lose a lead, we just talk about doing what we have to do and tonight is a perfect example of just an amazing amount of work that the guys did.

“Whether it’s a loss or whether it’s a tough call on the ice, it doesn’t really seem to rattle or change who we are or what we need to do, and that’s a good sign.”

The Predators pounded 47 shots on the Blues cage, beating Brian Elliott a trio of times in the netminder's first action in 14 games. Outshooting their Central Division rival by 19 and consistently pushing the attack as the game went on earned the Predators their 12th victory following a loss. The club remains undefeated following a loss in any fashion.

“What I liked is that we got stronger [as the game went on],” Laviolette said. “We really hit the gas pedal in the second-half of the game. We continued to forecheck and pound the offensive zone and get opportunities at the net. The building was great, the fans were amazing and they helped carry us through that too.”

Weber opened the scoring near the end of the first period, but the Blues answered with two-straight scores from Chris Butler and T.J. Oshie in the middle frame.

Bourque’s marker just seconds after Filip Forsberg’s dismissed scoring play knotted the contest at two aside until Weber’s second of the night put the Preds ahead for good.

No Review Needed:

With four minutes remaining in the second period, Filip Forsberg spun and fired a shot from the corner and onto the Blues net. Goaltender Brian Elliott flubbed the shot, dropping it onto the ice right on the goal line.

The biscuit slowly skidded toward the line before Elliott reached back and covered it with his glove. The play was called a no goal on the ice, but went to Toronto for a lengthy review.

Ultimately, the video evidence was ruled inconclusive and the score remained 2-1 in favor of the Blues.

“It’s hard for me to see right when it happens, but looking just on the megatron, I want to say it’s in for sure,” Forsberg said. “It’s hard for me to tell, because I’ve only seen the megatron’s [video] but it looked clear to me.”

The Predators were not disheartened by their near-tying shot being ruled not to be a goal, however. It took only three seconds after the no-goal for Nashville to tie the contest, this time from Gabriel Bourque.

“We try to bounce back from everything as quickly as possible from anything that happens, and it was a great goal from Bourque,” Forsberg said. “It was awesome; that’s the second time we’ve done that this year. It just proves how good of a team we are.”

Off the faceoff following the review, Bourque found the rebound off of Olli Jokinen’s bid and kicked the puck to his stick before whacking the chance home and falling to the ice. Determination to say the least.

“It was tough to get it on the backhand, so I used my skate,” Bourque said. “It worked out really well.”

Oh Captain, My Captain:

Goals aren’t the sole characteristic used to evaluate Shea Weber's contribution to his team.

But when the 6-foot-4 blueliner is dishing hits, shutting down the opposition’s top forwards and also chipping in offensively, the Predators usually show up on the right side of the ledger.

Breaking a 16-game goal drought on Tuesday, Weber played his normal role and more.

“Weber does so much for our team,” Jokinen said. “If he scores it’s good, if he doesn’t score he’s still the best defensemen out there. He’s playing great, he’s our leader and I hadn’t even noticed it had been awhile since he got a goal."

The Captain’s second of the night, and the game-winner, showed all three areas of the game that Weber is able to excel in.

Nine minutes gone in the final frame and the contest tied, Weber knocked the puck to safety with the Blues power play unit crashing the crease. Josi then pushed the play quickly through the neutral zone with the Captain hustling to join the rush. Taking a pass from Josi near the offensive zone blue, Weber picked the top corner on Elliott for a 2-on-1 tally and the Preds first shorthanded strike of the season.

“Everyone got back, and there was a huge hole,” Weber said of the play. “I think everyone was collapsing at the net, and honestly, I was wondering if I should even go for it. But it worked out. I’m lucky.”

“That’s aggressive; that’s really aggressive,” Laviolette said of the shorthanded tally. “[Weber and Josi] both popped out of a hole as they approached the blue line. I think Roman just kept skating as hard as he could to get away from the defender behind him, and they were able to jump up. It was a big goal, obviously.”

After reclaiming the lead in the contest, the home team didn’t look back and held on across the final minutes for a 3-2 triumph.

End Game:

The Predators are now 12-0-0 following a loss in regulation, overtime or a shootout. Nashville is also 9-1-2 when tied after two periods. With two assists on the night, Jokinen recorded his first multi-point game of the season. The line of Jokinen, Bourque and Paul Gaustad, together for the first time this season, combined for one goal and four assists with a plus-7 rating on the night. Tuesday marked the sixth time this season, and the second time in as many games, that the Preds have registered at least 40 shots on goal.

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