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Post-Game Musings: Game 3 at Detroit

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
It was the Pekka Rinne show this afternoon in Detroit. The Nashville goaltender stopped 41-of-43 shots – 18 in the third period alone – to backstop the Preds to a big 3-2 win. Kevin Klein posted a multi-point performance with a highlight reel-caliber breakaway goal in the second period and an assist on the game-winning goal late in the third.

With the win the Preds claimed a 2-1 lead in the series, Nashville’s first-ever playoff win at Joe Louis Arena.

No on to the musings...

Klein Shines – The Suter-Weber duo logged huge ice time, but Kevin Klein’s contributions were crucial to the Nashville cause. His goal drew the headlines --- and it was a beauty of a play --- but it was his play in the defensive zone that really stood out. He was excellent in one-on-one battles tonight and very effective taking away shooting lanes. His shot block 5:40 into the third period prevented a very dangerous rebound chance for the Wings with the score still 2-1 Nashville. And then later in the period, he triggered the three-on-one breakout that resulted in Sergei Kostitsyn’s goal to give the Preds a two-goal cushion. Klein closed out the game with the two points and a +1 plus/minus rating in a physical 22:58 of ice time.

Déjà vu – Sergei Kostitsyn had a partial breakaway 7:30 into the third period in Game 1 of the series, but was foiled by Jimmy Howard's right pad save. Tonight he had a similar scoring opp on an odd-man rush with 3:30 left in regulation and snapped the shot under the crossbar for a huge insurance goal, which became the game-winner when the Wings scored a six-on-four power-play goal with 51.9 seconds left in the game.

2011 Flashback – Today’s game was eerily reminiscent of Game 3 of last year’s Western Conference Quarterfinals Series. Last year after splitting the first two games, Nashville claimed an early 2-0 lead only to see Anaheim race back to tie the game and then the Preds scored early in the third period to re-gain the lead, only to see Anaheim respond moments later, before Mike Fisher netted the winner midway through the frame. Today Nashville again claimed a 2-0 lead before Detroit scored once and nearly netted a second at the tail end of Period 2, but much like last year’s game the Preds held off the surge for a one-goal win.

NSH G Pekka Rinne – 41 saves; 18 saves in the third period
NSH D Kevin Klein – 1 goal, 1 assist; huge blocked shot early in P3 to prevent goal, won a ton of 1-on-1 battles
DET F Pavel Datsyuk – 1 goal; changed game’s momentum, created several other dangerous scoring chances

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