Flyers face Weber-less Predators

The Flyers won't have to contend with the Predators' star defenseman. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE _Defenseman Shea Weber, Nashville’s best player, will not play Saturday night because of an eye injury, but the Flyers say they will not take the Predators lightly.

Flyers winger Jake Voracek said his team remembers what Washington did to the Flyers on Nov. 1, when Caps star Alex Ovechkin was unable to play.

Washington embarrassed the Flyers, 7-0.

“They’re still a great team, with or without him,” said Voracek after the morning skate, referring to the 13-11-2 Preds. “…They’re not going to play any easier.”

The Flyers (11-12-2) also dropped a 4-2 decision Wednesday to depleted Tampa Bay, which was missing five regulars, including superstar center Steven Stamkos.

In addition to Weber (seven goals, minus-7) _ whom the Flyers signed to an offer sheet prior to last season, only to have the Predators match it _ Nashville will be without goalie Pekka Rinne, who has a hip infection, and injured veteran defenseman Kevin Klein.

The Preds have recalled defenseman Joe Piskula from the minors.

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros said the Flyers have to guard from being overconfident.

“Usually when you have your best guy out, the team is playing even harder. And the other team is not really focused, so we have to be ready for that,” Meszaros said. “They’re a good team and they’re going to come out hard, and we have to match it even though we played yesterday.”

The Flyers are coming off a 2-1 win over visiting Winnipeg.

“We have to be worried about everyone on their team,” Wayne Simmonds said. “They play their system to a T, and we have to come out with a lot of energy.”

Nashville will use rookie goalie Marek Mazanec, who has played well in 10 games, compiling a 5-4 record, a 2.01 GAA and .934 save percentage. He will oppose Steve Mason (8-8-2), owner of a 2.10 GAA and .933 save percentage.

The Predators will use an inexperienced defense; their six defensemen have played a total of 305 games, according to the Tennessean. (Weber has played in 554, Klein in 382.)

The Flyers are starting a six-game road trip that will take them to Nashville, Minnesota, Detroit, Dallas, Ottawa and Chicago. They play 14 of their next 18 games on the road.

“We’re on the road for a better part of a month, and they’re crucial games,” Simmonds said. “We have to make a big push here.”

Breakaways. The Flyers, who haven’t won in Nashville since 2000, will travel 6,801 miles on their six-game trip…Claude Giroux leads the Flyers with 17 points but has just three goals in 25 games…..David Legwand paces the Preds with 20 points…Depending on the results of the games involving the Rangers (vs. Vancouver) and New Jersey (vs. Buffalo), the Flyers could move into third place in the Metro with a victory.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.