Weber happy to play role of villain in Predators victory

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By Steve Keating

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Nashville defenseman Shea Weber scored the winner in a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday and was roundly booed in the same arena where he will be a cheered on as a home favorite at next month's Winter Olympics.

Weber can expect a much warmer reception when he plays for Canada than the cool send-off he received after blasting the power-play strike past Olympic team mate Roberto Luongo with just over four minutes left to play.

"I don't think I've ever heard cheers in this place, so that will be nice," Weber told reporters. "It definitely had a little bit of that Olympic feeling.

"I think with the hectic schedule right now, we're playing every other night, it's probably a good thing.

"If we weren't playing so much, there would be more time to sit back and think about it but right now we're focused on winning games."

The Predators scored all three goals on special teams, Joel Ward opening the scoring on a short-handed effort and Ryan Jones adding a second period power-play tally.

Red hot Alex Burrows, who had back-to-back hat-tricks in wins over Phoenix and Columbus last week, handled all the Canucks scoring, the brace giving him nine in his last five games.


However, Burrows and line mate Henrik Sedin, the NHL's leading scorer, were both in the penalty box when Weber converted during a 4-on-3 advantage to clinch the win.

A furious Burrows claimed after the game he had been targeted by referee Stephane Auger, saying the official had told him during the warm up that he was looking for a reason to get him.

"It was personal, it started in warm up before the anthem," Burrows said. "The ref came over to me and said I made him look bad in Nashville.

"He said he was going to get me back tonight and he did his job in the third.

"He called me on a diving call I didn't think was diving, he got me on an interference call that I have no idea how he could call that and it changed the game.

"It sucks right now for team mates that are battling hard for 60 minutes to win a hockey game... because of a guy's ego it just blows everything out of proportion and they're making bad calls and the fans are paying for it and we're paying for it."

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said the team would investigate Burrows' allegations and ask the NHL to look into the charges if they believed them to be valid.

"We're definitely going to look into that," Vigneault said. "If those (allegations) are true we'll definitely bring it up."

(Editing by John O'brien)