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Post-Game Musings: Game 4 at Detroit

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
On Tuesday night the Nashville Predators played rope-a-dope hockey for the first two periods before breaking out with a three-goal third period to claim a 3-1 win in Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena. With Tuesday's win, Nashville took both games in Detroit to grab a 3-1 series lead heading back to Nashville for Game 5 on Friday.

The Preds rotated forward combinations all game, trying to find the right mix of players, before hitting paydirt with a Bourque-Legwand-Radulov trio. The threesome accounted for the game’s first goal, 1:55 into the third period, and Legwand added the insurance goal on the power-play in the game's final minute. Jiri Hudler knotted the game at 1-1 for Detroit on a power-play redirection 19 seconds after Nashville opened the scoring, but defenseman Kevin Klein answered with his second goal in as many games to put the Preds ahead for good at 6:25 of the third.

Now on to the musings…

Shots Don’t Tell The Story – Detroit held a major edge in shots on goal, but the scoring chances were fairly even through the game. In the first two periods, some of Nashville’s best scoring chances didn’t end up in shots on goal, while the overwhelming majority of Detroit’s shots on goal were from low percentage areas with an unobstructed view for Rinne.

Exorcising the Demons of Playoffs Past – When Nashville went on the power-play with under a minute left in regulation holding a one-goal lead, it had to trigger flashbacks to Game 5 of the 2010 series vs Chicago. This time the Preds – with a similar grouping of players on the ice – managed the puck better behind the Detroit net and ended up with an insurance goal to seal the win. Martin Erat commented in the locker room after the game that this is what this year’s team has been all about, learning from past mistakes and making the most of the current moment.

Late TV Break – Because of the penalties and icings in the middle of the frame, there were back-to-back television timeouts late in the period, which benefitted Nashville greatly. The Preds were hemmed in their own end by a pair of icings and strong cycle by the Wings, but Barry Trotz called his timeout to trigger the first television break with 3:10 left and allow an extended rest for the embattled group on the ice. Then 23 seconds later after Rinne held a save off a Franzen shot, the next television timeout was triggered, allowing further rest for Nashville’s top defensive players.

1) NSH G Pekka Rinne - 40 saves
2) DET F Henrik Zetterberg - 5 shots on goal, 23:42 ice time, was consistently dangerous
3) NSH F Martin Erat - 1 assist; outstanding in the third period; created the game-winning goal with a strong one-on-three move; made a handful of strong defensive plays on the backcheck
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