The Nashville Predators will have to play at least one more game without their captain and defensive leader as the team announced Shea Weber will not travel to Chicago for Game 3 of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Weber, who had 15 goals and 30 assists for the Predators during the regular season, is a fixture all over the ice for the team as his slap shot makes him a terrifying power play weapon and his physical play makes him a really good penalty killer as well. He has been dealing with a lower body injury over the past several weeks, and he appeared to aggravate the ailment in a collision with Brandon Saad along the boards in Nashville’s 6-2 win on Friday night.
If there is one thing working in Nashville’s favor as they try to replace Weber for Game 3 (and potentially longer), it’s that the team’s roster is loaded with players who shoot from the right hand side on their blue line. Here’s Yahoo’s Josh Cooper to explain:
“Strangely, if there is one team that can withstand the loss of Weber specifically, it happens to be Nashville. Weber is a right-handed shot and the Predators are loaded with right-handed defensemen – between Ryan Ellis, Seth Jones and Cody Franson. And the Predators are solid on the left side between Roman Josi and advanced stat monster Mattias Ekholm.”
The Predators’ ability to run deep with their defensive pairings has been one of their biggest strengths this season, but that depth takes a huge hit with Weber out of the lineup. The Predators were able to cope without him over the closing stages of Friday’s game, but with Game 3 in Chicago, Nashville loses the ability to dictate matchups and shield weaker pairings, and that gives the Blackhawks a strategic edge as the teams hit the ice on Sunday.