NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Shea Weber tried his best not to look at the tribute video Tuesday night and worked really hard at preventing his emotions from taking over. But the quivering lower lip during the long ovation the Nashville Predators' fans bestowed on their former captain told one all they needed to know about the stoic Weber's feelings at Bridgestone Arena. True to his nature, though, Weber said the most important thing was that his Montreal Canadiens emerged with two points. They did so, thanks largely to him and another former teammate of his. Weber scored the tying goal and Alexander Radulov assisted on both Canadiens' tallies, including Max Pacioretty's game-winner at 4:30 of overtime, in a 2-1 decision. "Obviously, it's very special to be back in this building," Weber said, "and it's even more special to win the game." Weber played the first 11 years of his NHL career with Nashville before a stunning trade on June 29 sent him to Montreal for P.K. Subban in a swap of perennial All-Stars. While Subban was sidelined Tuesday night with an upper-body injury that has landed him on injured reserve, Weber was a force throughout the game. He took nine shots, doled out a hit and blocked a shot in 24:13 of ice time, giving the kind of efficient performance that's marked his career. Most importantly, he equalized the game after the Canadiens spent the first 44 minutes firing to no avail against Pekka Rinne. Weber didn't score with one of his famed slappers, but a well-placed wrister instead. After a Roman Josi turnover in the Predators' defensive zone, Weber skated to the top of the right faceoff circle, took Radulov's pass and beat Rinne for his 10th goal of the season at 4:26. "We had a lot of great chances," Weber said. "That goal came at the right time." While the sellout crowd mostly applauded Weber's goal, the reaction to the game-winner wasn't nearly as positive. With a shootout looming, Radulov created an opportunity for Pacioretty with tireless physical work behind the net, fighting off James Neal to maintain possession. As two teammates cycled on and off the ice, Radulov got the puck again behind the net and hit Pacioretty in the left faceoff circle. Pacioretty squeezed off a wrister that got behind Rinne, dropping Nashville (16-14-7) to 1-7 in games ending after regulation. It capped a performance which saw Montreal (23-9-6) put 43 shots on goal to the Predators' 23, including a whopping 10 shots by Pacioretty. "I thought we played almost a perfect road game," Pacioretty said. "So much possession, so much offensive zone time." But Rinne (13-10-6) was the best player on the ice for most of the night, coming up with 41 saves and stealing a point for Nashville. However, it wasn't enough to prevent the Predators from dropping their sixth straight home game. Coach Peter Laviolette termed the performance unacceptable. "There are always some games you wish you could do over, and this was one of them," he said. "If it wasn't for Pekka, we wouldn't have a point. We didn't work hard enough, didn't compete with enough speed." One of the few Nashville players who coped with the Canadiens' tight defense was Kevin Fiala, who broke the scoring seal at 19:06 of the second period. Skating down the right side, Fiala flipped a backhander that deflected off the stick from Nathan Beaulieu and over Carey Price's glove for his sixth goal of the season and his first in 13 games. But Price (19-5-4) stopped the other 22 shots he saw, including a pad save on Josi's wrister from the right faceoff circle during the Predators' final rush. Moments later, Pacioretty scored the goal that cemented a happy homecoming for Weber. "It was great," Radulov said. "How long was he here, (11) years? He deserved it." NOTES: Montreal captain Max Pacioretty, who was struck in the foot by a Shea Weber shot at the team's morning skate Tuesday, was able to play. Pacioretty entered the night with a team-high 15 goals. ... Nashville D P.K. Subban won the voting to be the Central Division captain at the All-Star Game Jan. 29. Subban (upper-body injury) is hoping to return to action in 2-to-3 weeks. ... The Canadiens scratched D Zach Redmond and RW Bobby Farnham, who was recalled Monday from St. John's of the American Hockey League. ... Predators scratches were D Anthony Bitetto and LW Harry Zolnierczyk.
Weber scores vs. former team as Canadiens win in OT
The Sports Xchange | Jan 4