Weber making an Olympic charge: HNIC's Take 5
HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information in the hockey world.
1. Making the cut
Nashville defenceman Shea Weber likely will be included on the Canadian Olympic team. His five goals are among the league lead for blueliners (Atlanta's Zach Bogosian is tops with eight). He is physical and he can shut down the opposition, and he is a Lady Byng candidate.
What? That's right. Weber, who has 235 career penalty minutes in 262 NHL games, has only four penalty minutes in 20 games this season. He has two measly tripping penalties in his first nine games and now has gone 11 consecutive matches without visiting the sin bin.
2. Deadly in net
Besides Weber's play and an improved power play, another reason for the Predators' six-game win streak has been the play of netminder Pekka Rinne.
He also has won six in a row, one short of the franchise record set by Tomas Vokoun, who performed the feat twice. In his past six outings, Rinne has stopped 151 of 162 shots for a solid .932 save percentage.
3. Close ones
Another four games were decided by overtime or a shootout on a busy 10-match Monday. This increased the season total to 92 of the 337 games played, or 27.3 per cent, that have required extra time to decide the outcome, and it puts the league on pace for 336 overtime or shootout games by the end of the campaign. That total would be the most since the 2004-05 lockout.
Here is a glance at the previous four seasons' tally of overtime games: 2008-09 — 282 games (22.9 per cent); 2007-08 — 272 (22.1 per cent); 2006-07 — 281 (22.8 per cent); 2005-06 — 281 (22.8 per cent).
4. Welcome back
Marc Savard did not register a goal or an assist in his first game back after a 15-game absence because of a broken foot, but his presence gave back the Boston Bruins their depth down the middle with Savard, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron.
It was Bergeron, who benefited the most with Savard's return, with a four-assist performance in the Bruins' 4-2 win in St. Louis. Boston coach Claude Julien said that Bergeron has been his club's best forward all season.
5. Bittersweet goal
Jay Beagle became the latest undrafted underdog to make good in the NHL. The 24-year-old rookie from Calgary played two seasons at University of Anchorage-Alaska, had a brief stint in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads, and spent some more time with the Hershey Bears.
But in his seventh game with the Washington Capitals he knocked down a backhand pass from Ottawa's Jonathan Cheechoo and buried a shot past goalie Brian Elliott to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead in the second period.
There wasn't much celebration from Beagle in the dressing room afterwards, because Washington collapsed to give the Senators their fourth straight win.