Predators win at Detroit again, take 3-1 series lead

Paul Harris, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- The Nashville Predators -- and, mainly, goaltender Pekka Rinne -- are one game away from eliminating the Detroit Red Wings.
Kevin Klein's goal early in the third period broke a tie and Nashville went on to beat Detroit 3-1 on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena to take a three games to one lead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Game 5 is scheduled for Friday night at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
Rinne made 39 saves and Gabriel Bourque and David Legwand also scored for Nashville.
Rinne has made a combined 80 saves in the last two games.
"He just gets in the game. He loves to stop the puck," Klein said. "But we have to make it easier on him."
Rinne held Detroit scoreless in the first two periods by knocking away all 28 of the Red Wings' shots in the first 40 minutes. Nashville had only 10 shots in the first and second periods. The 6-foot-5 goaltender continued his roll from Sunday's Game 3, when he stopped 18 of 19 third-period shots.
"We weren't very happy with the first and second," Rinne said. "They had too many shots, too many scoring chances. We buckled down in the third period."
Predators coach Barry Trotz agreed.
"We knew we were going to have to weather some storms early," Trotz said. "The penalty kill came up big for us in the first. In the second period, we weren't managing the puck well enough and we didn't have any support. It wasn't a real good period for us. In the third, we stabilized our game and had some focus."
Klein broke a 1-1 tie 6:25 into the third period. The defenseman's second goal in two games -- after scoring only four in 66 games during the regular season -- came after three Red Wings followed Martin Erat into the left corner and Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard also moved that way. Erat then spotted Klein wide open in the slot as he move in from his defensive position, and Klein deposited the puck into the empty net.
"Marty's got great vision and he made a great pass," Klein said. "I was staring at an open net. Marty had almost a semi breakaway, so they all went to him."
Erat said he made the pass only based on Howard's movement.
"We had three guys. We had enough people back," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We all end up chasing the puck for some reason. We made a mistake."
Legwand, who is from the Detroit-area suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods, added a power-play goal in the final minute.
Jiri Hudler scored Detroit's only goal.
"We couldn't capitalize on our chances. We had a lot of chances that we didn't score on," said Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, one of the three Detroit players -- along with his defense partner, Ian White -- who chased Erat into the corner. "We finally got one on the power play, but we needed another goal and we couldn't get it."
Bourque got the game's first goal 1:55 into the third period with a one-time shot from the inside edge of the right circle for his third goal of the series.
The puck deflected to Bourque off the skate of the Red Wings' Todd Bertuzzi.
But the lead didn't even last 80 seconds. Hudler's power-play goal tied it at 1, 3:14 into the third. when he tipped Niklas Kronwall's shot from the point out of the air and past Rinne.
It appeared that Nashville had broken the scoreless tie 1:26 into the third, but what looked like a goal by Legwand was waved off because the whistle blew.
One of Rinne's biggest saves came just before the end of the second period when he made a toe stop on Nicklas Lidstrom's shot from the point that was headed just inside the goalpost.
NOTES: Nashville defenseman Hal Gill continues to sit out with a foot/ankle injury. He has yet to play in the series. ... The Predators inserted right wing Matt Halischuk into the lineup in place of right wing Jordin Tootoo from Sunday's Game 3 lineup. ... Lidstrom, Detroit's captain, played his 262nd career playoff game, second only in NHL history to his former Red Wings teammate Chris Chelios, who played in 266 playoff games.