The Nashville Predators may have evened up their playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks with a 6-2 victory on Friday night, but they also received some bad news as defenceman Shea Weber was injured halfway through the second period.
It was a hit by Brandon Saad of the Blackhawks that appeared to do Weber in, as he was unable to put weight on his right leg following contact.
Now the word out of Nashville is that the defenceman won’t be accompanying the team to Chicago. He’ll miss Game Three and Game Four at the United Center and that’s certainly going to sting.
Weber logs 26:22 of ice time a game and is the leader of the Predators. He was on the ice for nearly 40 minutes in Game One of the series against the Blackhawks and had put up 13:25 before the hit from Saad took him out of the action. Weber had an assist in that game.
“You don’t know what they are or the significance of the injuries but certainly you never like to lose any player. You certainly don’t want to lose a guy who takes down as many minutes as [Weber] and the captain of your team” coach Peter Laviolette said on Friday.
If there’s good news here, it’s that the Predators could probably cope with the loss of Weber.
They have a solid group of right-handed blueliners to choose from, with the likes of Cody Franson, Seth Jones and Ryan Ellis capable of stepping up. Granted, they won’t exactly fill in the physical gap left by Weber’s absence but they should be able to make do.
The Predators are also without Mike Fisher, by the way. He went down to injury in Game One, but he’ll travel to Chicago with the team and is currently listed as day-to-day. Nashville needs Fisher in the lineup, as he’s the man to contend with Jonathan Toews at centre.
The Predators have to hope for a win at the United Center without Weber. That’s the only way they stay in the series and the only way they give their captain a chance to show up again in this post-season.