Shea Weber's first season as captain of the Nashville Predators was not exactly smooth sailing.

The team pitched and rolled through streaks both good and bad, endured injuries to some of its top players and found itself in the heat of one of the most competitive playoff races in recent NHL history.

Through it all, Weber remained a consistent presence in the lineup and a kept a consistent approach that helped guide the Predators to where they are right now, in need of one point either Friday against Columbus (7 p.m., Bridgestone Arena) or Saturday at St. Louis to secure the franchise's sixth playoff berth in the past seven seasons.

"Even though he's not an old guy by any means, he already has so much experience from the NHL, from the international game, from all kinds of different tournaments," goalie Pekka Rinne said. "He's a great influence for everybody else here, reminding guys that you can't get too high or too low.

"He's a great example on the ice and off the ice."

On the ice, Weber has put together one of the finest seasons of his already noteworthy career.

Most important, he is in position to play all 82 games for the first time as the only Nashville defenseman and one of three Predators overall who have played in each of the first 80 contests. His 47 points are third on the team and the most among the blue liners and include a career-high 31 assists as well as a nine-game point streak — a franchise record for a defenseman.