Predators Gameday: Primetime Klein credits film study for Preds' position

Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:40pm

Kevin Klein has shown up on a lot of highlight reels in the last week or so.

Not that the veteran Nashville Predators defenseman has taken the time to watch. Instead, he has been much more focused on video of the Detroit Red Wings.

“Whether it's power play or penalty kill it varies a little bit every day,” Klein said. “But we’re always watching a little film.”

That study has paid off thus far. Nashville enters Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series Friday (7 p.m. Bridgestone Arena) with a 3-1 lead and the opportunity to eliminate their Central Division rivals.

The Predators have been outshot by an average of nearly 12 per game but have not trailed at any point in any of their three victories.

“In a playoff series, as you look at more tape that’s a big thing, learning more of their tendencies,” Klein said. “We definitely know a lot about them and they know a lot about us. … It’s one of those things where you learn a few things over the years.”

It’s likely that many casual fans have learned Klein’s name for the first time during this series, during which he has scored two goals (one game-winner) and has one assist. He had just four goals in 66 regular-season contests.

Typically, he is overshadowed by his more celebrated teammates Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. All three were taken in the first two rounds of the 2003 draft (Klein actually was selected 12 spots earlier than Weber) but Suter and Weber have played in NHL All-Star Games and have starred for their respective Olympic teams while Klein has gone largely unnoticed in an NHL career that now has surpassed 300 games.

“It’s nice to be behind the two big guys,” Klein said. “You can just go about your business and do whatever you want.

“It’s fun [to be in the limelight] for a little bit, but I can’t wait for Webs and Sutes to take back over.”

Four scores?: Neither team has scored more than three goals in any game in this series.

For the Predators — obviously — that has not been a problem. For the Red Wings, it’s utterly unusual.

This is Detroit’s 17th post-lockout playoff series and in each of the previous 16 it scored four goals or more at least once. As recently as last year it had four or more in six of its 10 postseason contests and in 2009 in swept a first-round series with Columbus in which it scored four or more every time.

The last time the Red Wings failed to do so was 2003, when they got just six goals in four games and were swept in the opening round by Anaheim.

“I think we’ve gotten quite a few chances,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “We need to score some goals. How are we going to score some goals?

“To me, we need second chances on their goaltender [Pekka Rinne]. The puck’s not coming off him very much because he catches a lot of things. We have to figure out a way to get some second chances and be determined.”

Still no Gill: Coach Barry Trotz said he had no doubt that veteran defenseman Hal Gill would be prepared once he returns to the lineup.

Then he said that Gill would remain sidelined through Friday’s contest. He has missed the first four games with a lower body injury but has practiced in recent days.

“There’s not a lot of flash and fanfare with Hal Gill,” Trotz said. “… Substance and size, I would say, is probably his game. I’m not really worried about when we put him back in that it’s going to change a lot.”

Notable numbers: 0 — minutes and seconds, the amount of time the Red Wings had the lead in Games 3 and 4 at Joe Louis Arena.

2 — rookies with three postseason goals. Nashville’s Gabriel Bourque is one of them.

4 — defensemen who have scored more than one goal (all have two) thus far in the postseason. Weber and Klein are two of them.

5 — straight Predators’ playoff series, dating back to 2007 with San Jose, in which at least one of the first five games has gone to overtime. None of the first four in this series went beyond regulation.

11 — goals by the Predators through the first four games. The most they ever have scored in a playoff series against the Red Wings is 12 (2008, six games).

SCHEDULE/RESULTS
PREDATORS vs. RED WINGS

(Nashville leads series 3-1)

Game 1: Predators 3, Red Wings 2
Game 2: Red Wings 3, Predators 2
Game 3: Predators 3, Red Wings 2
Game 4: Predators 3, Red Wings 1

Game 5: Friday at Nashville, 7 p.m. (SportSouth)
Game 6: Sunday at Detroit, time TBD, if necessary
Game 7: Tuesday at Nashville, time TBD, if necessary