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Predators 4, Red Wings 3 (OT)

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE -- In a breakthrough playoff victory last April, the Nashville Predators eliminated the Detroit Red Wings by scoring the opening goal in each of their four wins before stifling their longtime nemesis with sparkling goaltending from Pekka Rinne.

It was a formula the Predators followed again Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, as Nashville capitalized on an early two-goal lead and held on for a 4-3 overtime win over its Central Division rival.

Predators defenseman Shea Weber's shot past sprawling Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson just 44 seconds the extra session lifted Nashville to the win.

The Predators (8-4-5) earned its third victory in five games. Detroit (7-6-3) has lost a season-high four straight games.

Rinne made 26 saves to earn the win.

The Red Wings forced the extra session with two goals in the third period, including a spectacular individual effort from center Pavel Datsyuk. The four-time Lady Byng Trophy winner eluded three Predators on his game-tying goal at the 13:30 mark of the third.

The goal came less than a minute after Nashville took a 3-2 lead on an unassisted goal by defenseman Roman Josi, his first goal of the season.

Leading 1-0 midway through the first period, the Predators doubled their lead on an even-strength goal by left winger Gabriel Bourque. Nashville center Mike Fisher outfought a Red Wings defender for the puck along the left boards, poking it back to defender Scott Hannan. Bourque shielded Detroit defender Kyle Quincey and deflected Hannan's slap shot past Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

With Detroit defenseman Jakub Kindl in the box for his second penalty in the opening five minutes, the Predators took advantage with a power-play goal on the game's first score. Predators center Colin Wilson broke free after receiving a pass from Weber and fed an open Craig Smith on the left doorstep. Smith's one-timer into an empty goal gave the Predators a 1-0 lead.

Howard left the game with an undisclosed upper-body injury at 11:22 of the first period.

The Red Wings scored their first goal on a short-handed situation at the 15:01 mark of the first. Datsyuk stole the puck from Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum behind the net and fed right winger Daniel Cleary just behind the left circle. Cleary beat Rinne with a top-shelf wrist shot into the left upper-netting of the goal.

Detroit tied the game on Jordan Tootoo's goal at 11:33 of the third period, but Josi put Nashville back in from less than 90 seconds later.

NOTES: Tootoo appeared in his first game at Bridgestone Arena since signing a three-year deal with Detroit last summer. Tootoo, who became a fan favorite in his eight seasons in Nashville, entered Tuesday's game with two points and 32 penalty minutes in 15 games. ... Smith netted a goal for the first time this season. His drought lasted 26 games, dating back to last April's regular-season finale against the Avalanche. ... Predators center Paul Gaustad was a pregame scratch with an upper-body injury. ... The meeting between the Central Division rivals was their first on the season. In the 2011-12 regular season, the teams split six games, all of which were settled in regulation.

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