Taking stock of the Predators players in action in Sochi:
Shea Weber, Canada
After a disjointed first period, Weber, an alternate captain for his country, helped to get Canada going in the right direction in a 3-1 win against underdog Norway. With fans voicing an increasing sense of tension over social media and the Norwegians gaining confidence, Weber scored at 6:20 of the second period to break a scoreless tie. With the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn having earned a delayed penalty call against Norway, Canada pulled goalie Carey Price for an extra attacker. After some good work along the boards behind the Norwegian net, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron worked the puck along the wall to the Chicago Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith. Keith passed the puck back to Weber above the left circle and Weber, who leads all NHL defensemen in goals with 15, hammered home a trademark slap shot high above Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen’s blocker. Weber started the game playing with Keith on Canada’s top defense pair. However, as the Canadians struggled to get their game going early on, Canada coach Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wings) switched up the defense pairs. For a time, Weber played with Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks). Late in the game, Weber took a shift with his former Predators’ teammate Dan Hamhuis, now with the Vancouver Canucks. Weber also was on the first power play unit, manning the point with with Drew Doughty (Los Angeles). Weber logged 19:59 of time on ice, third behind Doughty, who played 20:41, and the St. Louis Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo (20:23). Weber had the one shot and finished plus-1 while earning a team-high 28 shifts. Canada is tied with Finland atop Group B but the Finns are ahead based on goal differential (plus-4 to Canada’s plus-2).
Simon Moser, Switzerland
In a game that ended up being perhaps tighter than was expected on Wednesday, Moser netted the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory against Latvia. Based on previous strong performances at the Olympics and International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships and because of increasing numbers of NHL players, the Swiss entered the tournament with expectations of reaching the quarterfinal round. However, the game was scoreless until Moser scored with eight seconds left in regulation. Moser was credited with the goal after the puck bounced off of a Latvian defenseman and into the net. Moser logged 14:21 of time on ice and had three shots in finishing plus-1.
Roman Josi, Switzerland
Josi logged 22:14 of time on ice, second among Swiss players, and had two shots in the game. Switzerland is tied for the lead in Group C with Sweden, although the Swedes have a better goal differential (plus-2 to Switzerland’s plus-1). On Saturday, the Swiss play a pivotal game against Czech, which lost 4-2 to Sweden in its opening game. A win would likely get the Swiss into the second round.