NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After a slow start this season, Shea Weber has found his stride.
Nashville’s captain scored 44 seconds into overtime to give the Predators a 4-3 victory against the slumping Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Craig Smith, Gabriel Bourque and Roman Josi also scored for Nashville, which had lost its last two games. The Red Wings have dropped four straight.
Daniel Cleary, Jordin Tootoo and Pavel Datsyuk had the Detroit goals.
Less than a minute into overtime, Colin Wilson’s shot from the left side went wide and bounced off the end boards. Weber came down the right side, collected the rebound and beat a diving Jonas Gustavsson, who replaced injured goalie Jimmy Howard midway through the first period.
“Lucky,” Weber said. “I was just thankful for whoever installed that kick plate behind the net because that sure kicked out hard. I was just lucky to get a stick on it and find a way to slide it in.”
Gustavsson, recalled from the minors on Monday, stopped 16 of 18 shots.
“I feel like the guy who took the shot, he had some time and space,” Gustavsson said. “I just tried to be aggressive. I guess he missed the net and the puck bounced their way, and they were able to get it into the net. I guess that’s the way hockey is — lucky bounces. I guess they had it at the end of the game.”
Weber, in his third season as the Predators’ captain, was held without a point in Nashville’s first nine games. But he has three goals and three assists in his last four games.
“He has scored in three straight games here,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “I just think with the bigger guys, it just takes a little longer to get going, getting your hands, getting your feet, getting your wind getting up ice.”
Smith scored the game’s first goal at 5:01 of the opening period.
With the Predators on a power play, Wilson had the puck to the right of the Detroit net. Wilson slid the puck to Smith on the left side, and with his skates below the goal line, he beat a sprawling Howard on the stick side.
The goal was Smith’s first of the year. He had 14 goals as a rookie last season.
Wilson’s assist extended his career-high point streak to five games.
Bourque doubled the Nashville lead at 10:41 of the first when he deflected Scott Hannan’s slap shot from the left point by Howard on the short side.
Howard left the game less than a minute after Bourque’s goal with an upper-body injury. He did not return.
Howard stopped five of the seven shots he faced in 11:22 of ice time before he was replaced by Gustavsson.
Cleary scored a short-handed goal with 4:59 left in the first and Detroit tied it at 11:33 of the third on a goal by Tootoo, a former Predator.
“I thought we battled hard, and I thought we had lots of good players,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. In the end, we didn’t have enough and didn’t get it done. In this league, we don’t get many moral victories.”
Nashville regained the lead at 12:54 on Josi’s first goal of the season, but Datsyuk tied it again at 3 just 36 seconds later.
“They had a big push in the third period,” said Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 26 saves. “We have to manage the game better even though they were pushing hard.” NOTES: Tootoo played his first road game in Nashville. He spent the first eight years of his NHL career with the Predators. … Weber has points in four consecutive games. … Hannan’s assist on Bourque’s goal was his first point as a Predator.