Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Preds make shots count in 3-1 win in Game 4

Through the first three games of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings, one way to assure a victory in the game was to be outshot. In each of the previous three games in the series leading up to Game 4 on Tuesday night, the team that had been outshot had come out on the winning side. That was the case once again on Tuesday night.

The Predators were able to defeat the Red Wings by a 3-1 score on Tuesday night despite being outshot by a 41-17 margin to take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a chance to close the series out on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena. It's the first time in franchise history that Nashville has been able to take a 3-1 series lead in the postseason.

Nashville and Detroit were both held off of the scoreboard throughout the first two periods. The Red Wings had a few prime scoring chances, but were thwarted by the stellar netminding effort of Pekka Rinne. Detroit peppered Rinne in the second period, posting a 17-3 shot advantage over the Predators in the middle frame.

It appeared as if David Legwand had broken the scoreless tie at 1:28 of the third period when the puck found it's way into the Detroit net from an odd-angle shot. However, the "intent to blow" call came into effect and the goal was not awarded to the Predators.

Gabriel Bourque responded for the Predators shortly after with a goal that was undeniable at 1:55 of the third period. Alexander Radulov made a good backhand feed that bounced off of Todd Bertuzzi's skate and onto Bourque's stick in the slot. Bourque was able to fire a one-timer past Jimmy Howard to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.

Detroit responded with a goal of their own at 3:14 of the third period on the power play when Jiri Hudler was able to redirect a shot from the point by Niklas Kronwall past Rinne for the goal. The goal was initially waved off but was rightly called a good goal after review.

Kevin Klein gave the Predators a 2-1 lead when he scored a goal in his second consecutive game at Joe Louis Arena. Martin Erat made a brilliant play to break in the Red Wings zone and draw three defenders over to him. That left Klein all alone in the slot with literally a wide open net to shoot. He converted and gave the Predators a lead they would never relinquish. Legwand added a goal in the final minute of the third period on the power play to propel the Predators to a 3-1 win and a 3-1 lead in the series.

With the win, the Predators are in a position to win their second playoff series in franchise history on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena. Detroit will have to bring their A-game on Friday night if they want to stay alive in this series.

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

Official 3 Stars:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Kevin Klein(NSH)
3. Kyle Quincey(DET)