By Amanda DiPaolo
Shea Weber’s overtime goal lifted the Nashville Predators over the Boston Bruins by a 4-3 score on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The goal, Weber’s 16th of the season, also lifted Nashville’s Captain to 80 career goals, the franchise record for goals by a defenseman. Kimmo Timonen, now a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, previously held the record with 79 goals.
“I didn’t even know that,” Weber said when he was asked about the record, ”It’s pretty neat. It’s obviously a huge honor, there have been so many good defensemen on this team. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”
The game was a see-saw battle between two gritty teams. Boston opened the scoring at just 1:50 into the first period when Tyler Seguin notched his 11th goal of the season. Former Predator Rich Peverley and Tomas Kaberle picked up the assists.
Nashville tied the game when Sergei Kostitsyn ended an 11-game scoring drought when he scored as the result of a scramble in front of the Bruins net. Colin Wilson and Ryan Suter picked up the assists.
The Predators ended the first period fighting off a five-minute elbowing major. Patric Hornqvist got the call for elbowing Tyler Seguin, the second pick overall in last year’s entry draft.
“I haven’t seen the replay so I can’t say,” Seguin said of the hit, “I saw him coming and I was bracing myself for a hit, then I felt something and it kind of hit my ear.”
Hornqvist was also assessed a game misconduct. Head Coach Barry Trotz said the coaches have the benefit of watching the replay, something referees do not have the luxury of doing when they have to make quick calls. “When I looked at it,” Trotz said, ”I really didn’t think it was a penalty.”
The Predators were able to kill off the first half of the penalty before time expired on the period.Nashville opened the second period with 2:30 left to kill on Hownqvist’s elbowing major and were able to kill off the bruins man advantage.
“It was a big momentum changer,” Rinne said about the penalty kill. “We did a great job on that penalty kill. When you kill a five minute penalty, it brings a lot of energy to a team, and I think that we got it going. It’s a good hockey team. They played well; we played well. It was a good match up, and beating Boston at home is really special.”
After killing off the major penalty and then failing to score on 40 seconds of a 5-on-3 man advantage, the Predators took a 2-1 lead 10:59 into the middle frame. Colin Wilson got his first goal in nine games when Wilson took a feed from Jon Blum and ripped it past Tuukka Rask, beating the netminder on the stick side. It was Wilson’s 15th goal of the season. Kevin Klein picked up the other assist.
Boston tied things up just 2:34 later when David Krejci notched his 12th goal of the year at 13:33 of the second period. The Bruins then took an early 3-2 lead in the third period when Patrice Bergeron scored from the slot just 1:42 into the final frame. Mark Recchi was down low along the boards and saw Bergeron in the slot. Feeding him the puck, Bergeron was able to shot around Blum and passed Rinne. It was Bergeron’s 22 goal of the season.
Nashville regained momentum after the Predators killed off a penalty served by Martin Erat for high-sticking. When Erat got out of the box, the Bruins were caught on a bad shift change and Erat was sent in on Rask all alone.
Erat didn’t score, but David Legwand came late into the play and was able to put the rebound behind Rask to tie the game.
The fans at Bridgestone Arena then serenaded their team as they do when the Predators make game-changing plays that seems improbable. The Predators remain undefeated with a 5-0-0 record when the crowd gives the Predators a standing ovation for the entire TV timeout.
“I’ll tell you what — if you want to talk about inspiring — the crowd was fantastic tonight, especially in the third when we were running a bit on fumes and getting a little bit discouraged,” Trotz said about the near sold out crowd, “They were fantastic, and we’re going to need them Saturday night, and we’re going to need them right to the bitter end.”
Weber finished the game in overtime with a power play marker at 3:37 into the extra frame, handing Nashville the team’s first overtime win of the season. Steven Kampferwas sent to the box for holding with 2:01 left in the five minute overtime.
“We kind of saw what they did on the five on three, and obviously we weren’t very successful in the second period. We made some adjustments and opened up some holes,” Weber said of the goal.
Because Calgary beat Colorado 5-2, Nashville is in 9th place, one point behind the 8th place Flames. The Predators have a make-or-break weekend coming up when they have back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday. Nashville hosts Detroit on Saturday night and then travels to Buffalo to play the Sabres Sunday afternoon.
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