Weber's Career Night Leads Preds Past Jackets
stole the spotlight with a career-best four points as the Predators doubled-up the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 at Sommet Center on Saturday night, the back end of a home-and-home set between the Central Division rivals. Weber assisted on three of Nashville’s first four goals before netting a score of his own early in the third period. Through the first six games of the ’07-08 season, Weber has three goals and seven points – almost half way to his totals of six goals and 20 points from last season.
Nashville used a balanced offensive attack as 10 players recorded a point, including two-point outings from Martin Erat
(2 goals) and David Legwand
(1 goal, 1 assist).
In a scene eerily similar to last night, the home team raced out to a 3-0 first period lead, extended it to 4-0 early in the second period, and carried a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. Nashville ended the similarities there, scoring twice early in the third frame before Columbus closed out the scoring.
On the first shift of the third period, Ryan Jones intercepted a clearing pass at the offensive blueline and fed Legwand for a breakaway. Columbus netminder Dan LaCosta, who entered the game early in the second period, turned aside the attempt and gloved down an ensuing shot, but Legwand won the faceoff cleanly back to Weber who blasted a shot from the right point for his third goal of the season.
Rich Peverley scored an unassisted goal, jamming home a loose puck 4:01 into the third to push the Nashville lead to 6-2. Rick Nash would convert in the middle of the period to finish the scoring.
Scott Nichol got the offense going for the Preds early in the first period. While working the puck behind the Columbus net on the penalty kill, Nichol drew a tripping call at the 6:25 mark to even up the skaters at four-on-four. Legwand won the ensuing faceoff back to J.P. Dumont who quickly relayed a pass to Weber at the far point. Weber took one stride and ripped a shot on goal, which was redirected in front by Legwand for his first goal of the season.
Nashville extended its lead 4:11 later on Erat’s first goal of the game. Jones created the play, gaining the offensive blueline and faking a blast before making a drop pass to Erat. Jones cut hard to the front of the net. Erat followed Jones’s lead and snapped a shot through the screen to give the Predators a 2-0 lead.
The Preds pushed the lead to 3-0 with 3:53 remaining in the opening period with a shorthanded goal from Joel Ward
. Nichol again was at the center of the play, tracking down a puck in the right wing corner and firing a centering pass to Ward, who cut hard to the front of the net and punched the puck past Fredrik Norrena, Columbus’s starting netminder.
Dan Ellis robbed Rick Nash on a breakaway with just under 1:00 to play in the period, allowing Nashville to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. Erat would push the score to 4-0 at the 14:34 mark of the second period. Weber’s blast from the point created a scrum in front of the net, where Legwand slid a shot under Norrena. Erat swiped the puck into the net before the Columbus defense could clear it away from the goal line.
The Blue Jackets answered 1:16 later on Jason Chimera’s second goal of the season and then cut the lead to 4-2 with 7:09 left in the middle frame on Mark Methot’s first score of the year.
Ellis made 22 saves to pick up the win, his third victory of the season and second in two home starts.
set career-highs with 4 points and 3 assists. His previous bests were 3 points (set March 3, 2007 at Los Angeles) and 2 assists (set 5 times, most recently Dec. 4, 2006 at Phoenix) … Weber also posted a +5 plus/minus rating in the game ... Martin Erat
recorded his first multi-goal and second multi-point game of the season … Nashville’s defensemen have combined for 6 goals and 16 points through the first 6 games of the season … Rich Peverley has points in 3 consecutive games (1g, 3a) … J.P. Dumont has points in 5 of the team’s first 6 games, including both games of the back-to-back against Columbus ... After tonight's game, 18 of the 20 skaters on the Preds active roster have recorded at least 1 point this season and 14 of the 20 skaters have recorded at least 1 goal ... Ryan Suter
logged a game-high 23:00 of ice time ... Erat and Joel Ward
recorded team-highs with 5 shots on goal ... Greg Zanon registered a game-high 7 blocked shots.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On tonight’s game being opposite from last night’s game…
“It was different in a lot of ways, obviously getting out to a three-goal lead. I think we came out really well tonight. Last night we came out really well but nothing went in for us and they really capitalized. Tonight I think we came out really well, we got the first goal and we had some great penalty kills. Scotty Nichol did a great job by creating a penalty and changing the momentum and keeping them out of the game and then Ward scored. Both of those things were key and big contributions. I think David Legwand
and his line did a really great job against their number-one line in every aspect of the game. There was a huge save at the end of the game.”
On Shea Weber…
“Shea’s got the big shot. I think Shea is getting off to a much better start. Last year he got hurt in game one and it really took him a long time to get some traction. I know in the summer he put in a tremendous amount of time into getting strong again and getting ready for the season. He has more confidence and that comes with experience. He puts pucks on the net and tries to score all of the time. He just puts them on net and they are going in for him and people are getting chances off that. One-hundred percent of the time it’s not going in the net if it misses the net so he is doing a good job getting pucks through.”
Defenseman Shea Weber
On defensemen having three goals…
“It is a little bit of luck. Guys are doing a good job getting in front of the net, and they are making it hard for the goalies to make saves.”
On getting shots on goal…
“That is a good way for chances to score. Without guys in front of the net, it is an easy save for the goaltender. Guys are doing a great job.”
On dominating the Blue Jackets over the years…
“These division games are huge. Those four point games are huge and we need to win them if we want to make the playoffs. It is a battle every night. We are just glad to get two points.”
Forward Martin Erat
On the team scoring six goals tonight…
“It is great to score six goals but we did give up three to them. That cannot happen every night and we have to keep their goal totals lower.”
On giving up too many soft goals…
“I don’t know if they were actually soft goals. We were just not strong enough with our sticks. We just keep battling there and it turned around for us.”
On getting back to how the Predators know how to play against the Blue Jackets...
“They played great last night. It was their home opener. We just gave it back to them. It was a four point game with them and was good to get this one for us.”
Forward Scott Nichol
On scoring quickly tonight…
“That is what we wanted to do. They kind of jumped on us last night. We had to battle back. We wanted it. It is our home building. We wanted to come out flying. And we have an identity if you are going to come into Nashville; it is going to be a tough game.”
On being up and then letting them get back into it…
“You get up by a few goals and then they get a few lucky bounces go their way. They kept throwing it on net. They have some big forwards that protect the puck well. They managed to slide a couple under Elly. We stuck together and grinded it out.
On a big division win…
“All these wins at the beginning of the year are big. Come January, February and March they are much harder to come by. We really want to stockpile the wins at the beginning of the year. You never know – It is a long year and you can run into injuries. We hope to get a good cushion as the year goes on.”
|Three star selections