The Nashville Predators were able to storm back and claim a win in their home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers, but generally speaking, it feels like the 2017 Stanley Cup finalists are sleepwalking early in 2017-18.
They might have lost another guy with some offensive skill on Thursday, as Yannick Weber was shaken up by a hit to the head by mountainous Dallas Stars center Martin Hanzal. Hanzal was not ejected from the game, however.
You can watch that hit, which drew an interference major, in the video above. Here it is in GIF form, too:
There are number of factors here.
Weber was clearly hit in the head, but was also reaching and there’s a significant size disparity in play. Perhaps those factors helped Hanzal avoid a game misconduct?
Opinions on the hit are divided, with some wanting an ejection:
And others wondering if it was a clean hit:
Plenty fall somewhere in the middle:
Either way, the absence of valuable defensemen was felt on that five-minute power play, as the Predators had trouble getting set on the man advantage. One of the better chances came for Dallas shorthanded.
To turn the knife in a bit, Jamie Benn scored the first period’s only goal on the power play.
Seeing Weber shaken up didn’t provide a wakeup call for the Predators. Maybe Peter Laviolette yelling at them regarding a poor power play might get them back on track?
Update: Maybe another Predators defenseman will emerge in this time of need? Samuel Girard, 19, scored the first NHL goal of his career and added an assist as Nashville turned things around for a 4-1 win.
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