Healthy outing: Weber powers Preds to OT win


It was far from clear that Shea Weber would even be able to play on Friday. He didn’t just play against the New Jersey Devils … he dominated.

The elite defenseman scored two goals (including the game-winner) to power the Nashville Predators’ 3-2 OT win against New Jersey.

It wasn’t just that he added offense; he was his usual do-everything self tonight, firing four shots on goal, delivering two hits and blocking four shots in 25:57 of ice time.

For some of the game, it seemed like Jaromir Jagr’s ageless play would grab the headlines. Jagr hit the 48-point mark with a goal and an assist, but David Legwand spoiled his attempt to add to his NHL-record game-winning goals total by tying it up with 11 seconds left in the third.

That goal opened the door for Weber to score his 15th goal of the season, topping all NHL blueliners as of this writing.

Weber, 28, might get lost in the shuffle a bit with Nashville hovering around .500, but it would be foolish to leave him out of the Norris Trophy discussion. If he keeps this up, he’ll be impossible to ignore.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.