Kevin Klein not only scored a key goal, the veteran defenseman also made a critical save as the Nashville Predators defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 Sunday at Detroit.
It was Nashville’s first postseason victory at Joe Louis Arena in seven tries and gave the Predators a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series. The final score has been the same in all three contests.
Klein gave Nashville a 2-0 lead when he scored at 3:50 of the second period. From there the Predators held on under a relentless attack by the Red Wings, who had a 43-22 edge in shots (19-4 in the third period) and missed a game-tying goal by a fraction of a second.
Sergei Kostitsyn provided some much-needed insurance when he scored (Klein had an assist) and made it 3-1 with 3:30 to play. Henrik Zetterberg’s goal made it a one-goal game again for the final 53.1 seconds.
Detroit got on the board when Pavel Datsyuk scored with 4:57 to play in the second period and looked like it pulled even when Johan Franzen scored at the end of the second period. A video review showed that the puck crossed the goal line just after the final second ticked off the clock.
The Red Wings then recorded the first 12 shots of the third period. Not included in that number was a rebound try by Cory Emmerton with goalie Pekka Rinne well out of position. Klein, however, came across and deflected Emmerton’s shot with the shaft of his stick.
Penalties continued to be a factor in the series. The teams combined for 12 penalties, eight power plays and one power-play goal aside.
Zetterberg scored 45 seconds after David Legwand went off for holding, and Shea Weber started the scoring at 2:48 of the opening period, 1:13 after Drew Miller was called for goaltender interference. Nashville was 0-12 with the man-advantage through the first two games.
Forward Jordin Tootoo and defenseman Ryan Ellis each were in the Predators’ lineup for the first time in the series. Tootoo played for Matt Halischuk, who was injured in Game 2, and Ellis replaced Jack Hillen.
Both players were used sparingly and played fewer than 10 minutes.
Veteran defenseman Hal Gill remained sidelined by an injury. The key trade deadline acquisition has yet to appear in the postseason and, consequently, Klein has averaged better than 20 minutes per game.