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Predators win first playoff game in Detroit, take 2-1 series lead

The SportsXchange

DETROIT - The Nashville Predators accomplished another franchise first Sunday afternoon.

Their 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings to take a 2-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference first-round series was Nashville's first playoff win at Joe Louis Arena after six losses.

The Predators lost playoff series to the Central Division-rival Red Wings in 2004 and 2008.

"They've been on top of the NHL for many years," said Predators' goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 41 saves. "It's a tough building. Every year, we keep improving."

Game 4 is Tuesday night in Detroit.

Defenseman Kevin Klein had a highlight reel goal and an assist. He made the game's biggest defensive play early in the third period when he knocked away Cory Emmerton's rebound shot -- that was heading for an open net -- by using the shaft of his stick.

"I saw him (Emmerton) coming in and I just tried to get something on it," Klein said.

It certainly made Rinne happy.

"That was awesome," the Predators' goaltender said. "He's done that a lot this year. I guess he has a little bit of goalie instinct, but he made a huge block. ... really saved a for-sure goal. That's obviously one of the key plays."

Shea Weber and Sergei Kostitsyn also scored for Nashville.

Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for Detroit. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made 19 saves.

"They came out and played really tight, especially when they get the lead," Zetterberg said. "I think second half we had a lot of chances, we played a lot in their end."

His power-play goal, with the Red Wings playing six-on-four with Howard pulled for the extra attacker, made it a one-goal game with 51.9 seconds left.

Kostitsyn' made it 3-1 with 3:30 left when he beat Howard on a shot from the top of the right circle off a two-on-one rush.

Johan Franzen put a rebound past Rinne on a Detroit power play, but it came just after the second period ended. The play went to video replay and it showed that the puck went into the net with zeroes showing on the clock.

Datsyuk put the Red Wings on the board with 4:57 left with a spectacular play. He stole the puck from Predators defenseman Roman Josi behind the Nashville net and quickly stuffed it inside the goal post to Rinne's left before the goalie could react.

Klein gave Nashville a 2-0 lead after 3:50 expired in the second period with an outstanding play. After taking a pass from Martin Erat at the Detroit blue line, Klein made a move past Red Wings' defenseman Brad Stuart to create a breakaway and beat Howard high on the glove side.

"I don't know what I was really thinking," Klein said. "I just kind of read and reacted."

Weber opened the scoring 2:48 into the game with a power-play goal. He moved in from the point to put in the rebound of Andrei Kostitsyn's shot for Weber's second goal of the playoffs and second in two games.

He also was booed by the crowd every time he touched the puck after slamming the Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg's head into the glass at the end of Game 1 Wednesday night. He received $2,500 fine and avoided being suspended by the NHL.

"It's part of it, Whatever. I guess we're more focused on the game," Weber said.

It was his best game of the series in a game-high 27:06 of ice time.

"We talk about great players when there's a little bit of controversy stepping up," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "When he came to the rink, he knew he wasn't going to be the most likable player in the arena."

NOTES: Weber's goal was Nashville's first power-play marker in 13 chances in the series. The Predators were 0-for-6 on the power play in each of the first two games. ... The teams were called for coincidental minors with 5:27 left in the second period, when Detroit's Johan Franzen was called for slashing and Nashville got a bench minor because David Legwand, while on the bench, grabbed Franzen. ... Nashville was held without a shot for the first 12 minutes of the third period.
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