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Several milestones hit despite shootout loss

Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks was the eighth time in 15 games that the Predators required extra time to determine a winner. Despite the outcome, the night was full of milestones for Nashville players.

Shea Weber’s first goal of the season at 9:31 of the second period was also his 100th career tally.  Weber’s next point will move him into a tie with JP Dumont for fourth in career scoring for the Predators at 267 points.

Despite the monkey of not scoring finally being lifted off Weber’s back, and milestone aside, the captain was only concerned with the team continuing to generate more offensive numbers.

“We’re generating offense. We’re spending all of our time in the offensive zone the last couple games which is good, and we need to make sure we’re getting to our end and getting pucks out,” Weber said. “We need to find a way to win. We need to bury those chances. We practice the shootout in practice for a reason. We aren’t scoring [in the shootout]. One goal tonight didn’t quite do it.”

Head Coach Barry Trotz believes that after getting his first goal of the season, Weber will now find the back of the net more often.

“His wrist shot is sometimes as hard as a lot of people’s slapshots. Hopefully that opens the gates. It’s not critical that he scores today. When he scores one, they start to come. From his standpoint, it’s not that important. Hopefully, it will give him some good karma.”

Picking up the secondary assist on the Weber goal, Sergei Kostitsyn notched his 100th career assist. In his three years with Montreal, Kostitsyn picked up 44 assists in 155 games for the Canadiens. Since starting the 2010-11 season with the Predators, Kostitsyn has added 56 assists in 167 contests.

“He is a good all-around player. It is a great accomplishment for him,” Marty Erat said after the game. Erat spent most of last season as well as the start of this season on a line with Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher before Trotz decided to break up what was considered to be Nashville’s top line.

Erat hit a milestone of his own on Thursday night when he played his 700th career game, all with the Predators, in Nashville’s 3-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Similarly to Weber’s preference to talk about team offense over his own accomplishments, Erat is concerned about team wins, not games played.

“Everybody hopes they can play as many games as they can. It is a great milestone for me, but I’m not looking at it like that. I’m trying to get as many wins as we can notch,” he explained.

Ranking second in all-time points for the Predators, Erat has 162 goals and 307 assists for 469 points, second only to David Legwand’s 507 points. Erat is also second in career games played for the Predators, again behind only Legwand who has played 861 for Nashville.

Not yet as lengthy a career as Erat, but Colin Wilson also hit a games milestone on Saturday night when he played in his 200th career NHL regular-season game, garnering 43 goals and 51 assists for 94 points since 2009.

Finally, Pekka Rinne’s shutout streak hit 155:06 before allowing a goal Saturday night against Anaheim, a career high. Matt Beleskey’s goal was the first Rinne allowed since the 4:27 mark of the third period on February 10th in Nashville’s 3-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena.

As one further side note, the Bridgestone Arena was also sold out for the 20th consecutive game, and in fact was over capacity with 17,322 fans in the stands. The Predators next play in Colorado for an afternoon game on Monday before returning home to what will likely be their 21st consecutive sellout when Detroit visits Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night.

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