Tags Posts tagged with "Shea Weber"

Shea Weber

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montreal canadiens vs nashville predators

Match Up:

The Canadiens (5-2-0) will welcome the Predators (3-3-1) to the Bell Centre Saturday night. The game starts at 7:00 and airs on RDS and CBC.

The Habs and Predators face off twice this season, they didn’t meet at all last year. The last time these teams met, the Habs earned a 2-1 OT win in Nashville back in November of 2011. David Desharnais had a goal and an assist in the game and Max Pacioretty notched the OT winner. That match was also the 1000th game for thePredator franchise and, coincidentally, the 1000th game for their coach Barry Trotz.

What to Watch:

PK Subban stretched his point streak to 6 games with a pair of assists on Thursday bringing him up to 10 points on the season. But a pair of minor penalties also brought PK up to 6 minors on the season, ranking him in the top-10 in that category as well.

Andrei Markov also tallied 2 points on Thursday, including his first goal of the season. The veteran rearguard also went +2 on the night, bringing him up to a team best +7 rating.

The Preds are off to a bit of a slow start this season, top defenseman Shea Weber has just a goal and two assists in 7 games so far. Mike Fisher and Craig Smith lead the Predators in scoring with 5 points apiece.

What’s at Stake:

The Habs are riding a 4-game win streak that has brought them close near the top of the Atlantic division. The Habs are two points back of the Maple Leafs and Red Wings, but they hold a game in hand on both teams.

Who’s Out:

The official word on Max Pacioretty is a strained hamstring, which is expected to keep him out of the lineup for 3-4 weeks. The good news for the Habs is that George Parros (concussion), Alexei Emelin (knee) and Douglas Murray (upper body) all skated during practice on Friday, although the time frame for their returns are still uncertain. Davis Drewiske (shoulder) will miss the better part of this season.

The Predators could be without defenseman Roman Josi (concussion) and winger Richard Clune (personal).

What Else:

With Lindy Ruff losing his coaching job in Buffalo last season, Barry Trotz became the longest active serving coach in his current position. Trotz is the only coach the Predators have ever had, the Predators are also the only NHL team Trotz has ever overseen. He was named to the position in August, 1997, and hasn’t looked back since. In 1121 career games to date, his record is 522-450-89 with 60 ties.

The Question Mark:

Let us know what you think, how many points will PK Subban rack up this season?

Have your say by leaving a comment below or use the #MTLHockey hashtag to let us know on Twitter.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

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Defense first focus in “Smashville”

To think that a team can lose a Norris candidate to the market one year and then, one season later, draft the most NHL ready defenseman in the draft is heartwarming. Seth Jones was ranked #1 in the 2013 draft and many were surprised to see him fall to #4 but none more than Preds management who jumped on the opportunity to bring back the Defense that has brought them to the playoffs the 3 previous seasons. With a lot of potential prospects making the jump on offense there is some concern of their NHL readiness. Bringing back the defense first mentality is the best way to get the Nashville crowd back into playoff madness.

Last season, the predators finished 29th in goals for. This season they hope to address that issue by bringing in role players like Matt Hendricks, Eric Nystrom and Matt Cullen, (Cullen also adds defensive prowess to the checking line) all in attempts to fill in the bottom 6. Nashville has been patient allowing its prospects to grow and mature by playing in the farm. Austin Watson stands out and with a 6’4” frame and the ability to put the puck in the net, so one can justify Nashville for calling up that 21 year old. Gabriel Bourque and Colin Wilson suffered injuries last year, missing a total of 35 games between them, which unfortunately took a toll on the Preds. Both are expected to play this season. The push to sign speedy winger Viktor Stalberg could be a sleeper move. Relegated to third line duties in Chicago in large part as a result of their depth, Stalberg comes in with the expectation to produce. David Legwand, Mike Fisher and Patrick Hornqvist will be the backbone of the Preds offense. They will be expected to contribute not only to goal scoring, but to goal prevention. For years, this has been the motto and will continue to be throughout this season.

The captain of the Preds will find that this season may go smoother than last. At the draft there was already talk from the Predators camp that Seth Jones would step in and play immediately with the Captain. Developing Jones on the top line, while giving Weber support on both ends of the ice, could mean trouble for the opposition. Without putting too much pressure on the 18 year old, there is support down the D- line if things look shaky at the start with the likes of  Roman Josi and Kevin Klein.  Kleinwho became a staple on the Penalty kill last season, has a good shot and puts his body on the line. Josi could use some work defensively but offers a good offensive upside and has signed a 7 year extension thereby showing his commitment to the team. Long time prospect Ryan Ellis will need to step his game up this season. He has the ability to move the puck but his consistency is still a question mark. With less pressure this season it could be a blessing in disguise for the defender.

Pekka Rinne had an off-year last season, but then so did the entire team after losing Ryan Suter to the Wild and enduring injuries to the forwards, it essentially became a perfect storm even for a Vezina caliber goaltender. Add to that a re-tooled blueline and some more grit up front, as well as a long off-season to recover from a nagging hip injury that goaltender Rinne will be back to form.

Nashville struggled heavily on the road last year (5-14-5) and will need to turn that around this season. On home ice, the Preds have accounted for 24 wins in each of the last 3 full seasons. With the number of changes in the rosters the Preds needed only one missing piece to bring back what worked for them in the past. The number 3 spot in the division is up for grabs and they’ll likely be holding it off by years end.