Nashville Predators blueliner Shea Weber gives up five inches and more than 20 pounds to Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, yet at the NHL skills competition the gap between the two rearguards hardest shots is a mere 0.3 miles per hour. So it goes almost without saying that Weber can tee off on a puck.
That’s why one of the best ways to stop Weber — at least offensively — is to eliminate the space he has to unload his slapshot. The problem, though, is that no matter how hard a team may try, Weber’s eventually going to get all of the puck on one of his shots and he might just put the puck through the netminder. Just ask San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, who must have blinked and missed Weber’s second-period blast careen off the post and in.
With the Predators and Sharks playing 4-on-4 in Game 3, Ryan Johansen cut into the San Jose zone with Roman Josi on his wing. As Johansen attempted to slip by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, the puck was poked off of his stick and slowly moved towards the middle of the offensive zone. Weber was able to beat the Sharks forwards to the puck, wind up and skate into a slapshot that Jones had almost no chance of stopping:
There’s no speed measure on Weber’s blast, but the puck is almost immediately behind Jones after Weber makes contact with his slapshot. Add in the strides Weber took towards the puck and it’s likely his blast was at least in the low 100s. The Predators would follow up Weber’s goal with markers from Colin Wilson and Filip Forsberg to take Game 3 with a 4-1 victory.
Weber, 30, is currently enjoying the most productive post-season of his career, and Nashville has only played 10 games. His three goals, four assists and seven points all either tie or surpass previous career playoff highs, and he’s doing it all while averaging more than 26 minutes of ice time per game.