When he was hit in the face with a puck back on Nov. 28 Shea Weber temporarily lost the vision in his right eye.
Ultimately he missed just three games as a result of the incident. Since he’s returned to the ice his aim has been better than ever.
It’s not the number of his shots that found the back of the net, although another one did so Monday in the Predators’ 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena. That gave him 13 goals for the season, most among all NHL defensemen, and raised his shooting percentage to 11.4 percent, which is on track to be a career-high.
Still, it’s the number of shots that have been on net, though, that have made a difference.
The simple fact is that Weber is not a playmaker. When he records an assist more often than not it is because one of his shots gets to the goalie and creates a rebound chance with which someone else can score.
“He probably has one of the hardest shots and it’s hard for the goalies to hold on to the puck,” left wing Patric Hornqvist said.
So it’s noteworthy that in 22 games since he returned from the eye injury he has had 59 shots, including three against the Stars. In 26 contests prior he had just 55.
The impact of that increase is obvious. Prior to being hurt Weber had seven goals and five assists (12 points). Since he has six goals and 16 assists for a point per game average.
“We’re just trying to get pucks to the net,” Weber said. “Obviously there have been some good screens lately and things are just going. Hopefully we can just keep getting things there and we’ll get second opportunities off of it.”
He had four assists in his first four games back and at least one assist in 11 of his first 15 appearances after the injury. That has put him on pace for 34, which would surpass his career-high of 32 set in 2010-11.
If he maintains his post-injury pace all the way to the finish he will add another 22 assists and will end up with 43 – one more than the franchise record for defensemen set by Kimmo Timonen in 2006-07.
All the while he also is on track to score 20 goals or more for just the second time in his career.
“He’s always had a great shot but it’s not just hard,” Roman Josi, Weber’s defense partner, said. “He picks his corner and he knows where he’s shooting. Especially [Monday], he knew exactly where he was going with his shot.
“I think it’s the best shot in the league. It’s hard but it’s accurate too.”
And it’s the accuracy that counts – one way or the other.
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