Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 12/29/11
Following Nashville's 2-1 shootout victory over Minnesota, there was no audible sigh of relief from the Predators. But it had to feel good that, without Shea Weber, they could beat a tough Minnesota team. Though there is still no word on Weber and how he has progressed in his recovery from a concussion, Nashville's younger players stepped up in a big way. Defensemen Jonathon Blum, Ryan Ellis, and Roman Josi each played more than 19 minutes, and Blum had an assist on a goal by Jordin Tootoo. Probably the most encouraging sign for the Predators was goaltender Pekka Rinne, who made 34 saves on 35 shots. In his previous three games, Rinne had allowed 12 total goals. Still, it's tough to classify this one as a momentum-building win. It's more of a confidence boost for a team that has needed to answer questions about the injury status of its captain and leader. The Predators travel to St. Louis on Friday for an important division matchup with the Blues. Until Weber returns, the Predators don't figure to be able to sustain a winning streak. But Wednesday's win at least showed that they can win without their best player. LW Gabriel Bourque made his NHL debut. He played just 8:05 and didn't record a point, but coach Barry Trotz liked the overall tempo of Bourque's game and was effusive in his praise following the contest. "He played really well. I thought he was really hard on the puck," Trotz said. "I can guarantee you if he plays like that, which I expected him to, if he does that night in, night out, he's going to play a lot more." D Shea Weber is listed as doubtful for Friday's game against St. Louis. Weber suffered a concussion on Dec. 23 and has not skated since. Weber is still Nashville's leading scorer with 29 points. "Every day that they don't skate makes them less probable that they will play the next game," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "It's still day-to-day with no definite time frame. He didn't skate today, so at this point, it's looking doubtful for Friday." D Kevin Klein was put on injured reserve Wednesday because of what the Predators call the flu. Klein missed his fifth game with the ailment but believed he could be back Friday when Nashville takes on St. Louis. "This is the first time I've been on IR with the flu ... so that's all I can say about that," Klein said. ROSTER REPORT G Pekka Rinne made 34 saves on 35 Minnesota shots. In his career at home against the Wild, Rinne is 5-0-0 with a 0.55 GAA and .979 save percentage. D Roman Josi played a career-high 24:40. He was on the first defensive pair with Ryan Suter. D Jonathon Blum notched an assist on a goal by Jordin Tootoo. It was Blum's second point in his last two games. Blum was recalled from Milwaukee on Dec. 19. MEDICAL WATCH D Kevin Klein is out indefinitely with the flu D Shea Weber is out indefinitely with a concussion QUOTE TO NOTE "I mean, it doesn't matter who's in the lineup, if you work hard you're going to give yourself a chance to win. When you have guys like Shea in the lineup, it helps you win, but if we work hard and battle it out, we're going to get some wins." -- D Ryan Suter on playing without captain Shea Weber, out with a concussion.
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