The Nashville Predators won a thriller against the New Jersey Devils tonight, in their return home after a four-game road trip.
Down 2-1 with under 15 seconds to play, the Predators tied the contest with their goalie pulled. Then 1:29 into overtime, Nashville’s captain Shea Weber tallied his second goal of the night, giving his club the 3-2 win.
After Weber exited the Predators game on Tuesday with an “upper-body injury” the questioned remained if he would even be able to play in tonight’s contest.
Not only did Weber play, but he was instrumental in getting Nashville the win.
“He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, and he brings a lot of confidence to the room,” Predators forward Patric Hornqvist said. “And he plays a lot of minutes too. He’s an important piece, probably our most important piece. It’s nice to see him on the ice.”
All told, Nashville registered three goals tonight, another feather in the cap for an offense that isn’t flashy, but simply aims to be effective. The Predators have now scored 12 goals in their last four games.
“We’re working hard,” said Hornqvist. “We’ve got our forecheck in order right now. It’s not pretty but it works. We’re real hard on the puck and we try to take it to the net. We just needed those bounces in the end. We step up when the need is most. [Carter] Hutton made a huge save on the breakaway in overtime, and then Weber came up strong and ended the game for us. Yeah a lot of emotion. We have to keep building on that.”
Despite the hard work on offense tonight, Nashville did need a few bounces in the end.
Outshooting the Devils 31 to 25 through 59 minutes, the Predators were still down a goal, and it took an odd hop of the puck in order to give forward David Legwand the opportunity Nashville needed.
“At the end, that tying goal is obviously a broken play that went over there to [Legwand] and he buried it,” Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. “It’s a broken play, it goes right to him, what can you do?”
The Devils were seconds away from victory thanks to second period goals by forwards Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr.
The first New Jersey goal deflected off of Predators goaltender Carter Hutton’s glove and the other beat him through the five-hole.
“Every goal I want back,” said Hutton. “The first one I got caught reaching for a puck [...] and the second just found a hole. But we were pretty resilient tonight.”
Predators head coach Barry Trotz was happy to see results in a game, where it appeared his team would come up empty despite doing many of the right things:
“We’ve got really good structure in our forecheck, we’ve got really good structure in our breakouts and in the neutral zone we’ve been pretty good,” Trotz said. “When they all connect, you end up playing faster. You end up getting more chances and that’s how we create offense. Tonight we just needed a little extra to go our way.”
The overtime triumph has Nashville five points back of the wild card with three games remaining before the Olympic break.
The Predators travel to St. Louis tonight to face the Blues on Saturday at 7:00 p.m (CST).