Shea Weber’s first goal of the season was not a thing of beauty. It was, however, a necessity.
Against most opponents Nashville’s second goal, which Weber’s was, has been a game-winner. Not so against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Predators needed that one just to get past regulation for the eighth time in their 15 contests. Twice they failed to hold the lead before they ultimately lost 3-2 to the Ducks in a shootout before a sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena.
“You always want to score more, whenever you can,” center David Legwand, who scored the game’s first goal, said. “Up 2-1, we have to lock it down but they got a second one. We still had chances in the third and in overtime to win the hockey game.”
It was just the second time in the last 13 Nashville games that both teams scored more than one goal. The only other was a 3-2 Ducks’ shootout victory on Jan. 26 at Anaheim.
Four of the last five were shutouts – three by the Predators, one by the opposition – and Pekka Rinne carried a personal shutout streak of 137:41 into this one. He eventually extended it to a career-high 155:06 (the second-longest in franchise history) before the Ducks tied it 1-1 on Matt Beleskey’s first-period goal.
Weber made it 2-1 – a lead that stood for 6:37 – when his wrist shot caromed in off Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa at 9:31 of the second.
“I honestly thought [Gabriel Bourque] scored it,” Weber said. “It looked like he tipped it. So I was excited we got the goal and happy for [Bourque].”
His reaction was understandable given that the Nashville captain had just two assists through the first 14 games and that he had much better chances in this one.
Officially, he registered six shots on goal, which tied Legwand for the most by any player on either team, but he also had three attempts blocked and four that missed, one of which slammed off the crossbar during a power play at the start of the third period.
“Absolutely, he had a lot of better shots,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Sometimes when you’re trying to score you’re teeing it up, you’re shooting it and it’s not going in or they’re blocking it or it’s missing the net or what have you. Sometimes you just get it through. His wrist shot is as hard as other people’s slap shot.
“… Hopefully, that opens the gates. It was probably not critical that he scored [Saturday] night but I think … usually when he scores one they start to come.”