Sunday, April 15, 2012

Klein shines in Preds first postseason win in Detroit

The Nashville Predators got their first postseason victory in Detroit in the history of their franchise on Sunday when they held on to defeat the Red Wings by a 3-2 score. Pekka Rinne made 41 saves on 43 shots against to secure the win for the Predators.

Shea Weber ended Nashville's power play woes that had plagued them in the first two games of the series when he converted on the man-advantage just 2:48 into the first period. Earlier in the power play sequence, Weber's booming shot had broken Pavel Datsyuk's stick after the puck hit the shaft. With a stickless Datsyuk skating for Detroit, Weber was able to sneak down to the doorstep and convert on a rebound that would have likely otherwise been cleared if Datsyuk had a stick.

In the second period, Kevin Klein gave the Predators a 2-0 lead on a highlight-reel type goal. Klein took a pass from Martin Erat and dangled his way around Brad Stuart while being hooked. Once he got around Stuart, Klein fired a quick wrist shot that beat Jimmy Howard high on the glove side.

Detroit finally got on the board at 15:03 of the second period on a brilliant all-around play by Datsyuk. Roman Josi had the puck behind the Nashville net, but had his stick lifted by the quick hands of Datsyuk. After that, "The Magician" was able to slide the puck past an unsuspecting Rinne to bring the Red Wings within one goal.

It appeared that Detroit had tied the game at two during the final moments of the second period when Johan Franzen fired one past Rinne as the buzzer sounded. However, the puck had not crossed the goal line before time expired. The Predators took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

The Red Wings put together a furious effort to tie the game in the third period, out-shooting the Predators by a 19-4 margin. However, the Predators were able to widen their lead to three goals at 16:30 of the final frame when Sergei Kostitsyn beat Howard on snap shot. Detroit wasn't about to go away, however, and they brought the game within one goal again when Henrik Zetterberg beat Rinne on the power play with 54 seconds remaining. Rinne and the Predators were able to hold on after that goal, however, and won the game 3-2. Nashville has now regained home ice advantage in the series with the victory.

Rinne and Klein were easily the two stars of the game for the Predators. Rinne made several key stops to stymie the Red Wings, while Klein had a great game both offensively and defensively for the Predators. Klein had a key blocked shot on Cory Emmerton to preserve the 2-1 lead for the Predators in the third period.

Nashville will now try to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Tuesday night when they square off with the Red Wings again in the Motor City.  If they are able to win on Tuesday night, Nashville will have a chance to win the series on Friday night in Music City.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Kevin Klein(NSH)
3. Pavel Datsyuk(DET)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Shea Weber(NSH)
2. Pavel Datsyuk(DET)
3. Pekka Rinne(NSH)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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