DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Red Wings rally but fall short losing to the Nashville Predators 3-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Sunday.
As heard on 97.1 The Ticket – the Predators got on the board first with a quick power play goal by Shea Weber just a few minutes into the first period.
“We had a lot of good chances – too bad they counter acted on those,” said Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “We’re doing a lot of good things … had a lot of good chances that didn’t connect.”
Henrik Zetterberg scored with just under a minute left to pull the Red Wings within one, but they couldn’t tie the game to force overtime.
Weber, jeered for smashing Zetterberg’s face into glass at the end of Game 1, snapped Nashville’s 0-for-12 streak on the power play against the Red Wings and helped the franchise win its first playoff game against them on the road.
Detroit will need to win Tuesday night at home to avoid facing elimination in Game 5 at Nashville.
Kevin Klein gave the Predators a 2-0 lead early in the second and Pavel Datsyuk pulled the Red Wings within one midway through the period.
The Red Wings thought Johan Franzen made it 2-all, but video review showed his shot was sailing through the crease and short of the goal line when time expired in the second period. They had another chance to tie it early in the third period, but Klein’s stick prevented Cory Emmerton’s shot from going into an open net.
Sergei Kostitsyn sealed the victory with a wrist shot from the inside of the right circle with 3:30 left on a sequence that started with Klein getting to a rebound on the other end of the ice and passing the puck along to Mike Fisher.
Nashville’s Pekka Rinne made 41 saves. Jimmy Howard stopped 20 shots for the Red Wings.
Detroit’s team and its fans Joe Louis Arena, where the storied franchise won an NHL-high 31 games this season, were fired up before the puck dropped.
Weber was booed each time he touched the puck and the star defenseman didn’t seem fazed.
His shot broke Datsyuk’s stick on the first power play of the game and the stickless forward was crowding the crease, freeing the star defenseman to score off a rebound. The Red Wings had killed their last 37 penalties, including the previous 12 in the series.
Soon after Detroit failed to score on its second power play early in the second, Klein sped through the middle of the ice, deked defenseman Brad Stuart and his wrist shot from the slot beat Howard high on his glove side.
The two-goal lead quieted Joe Louis Arena, but Datsyuk revived the crowd with just less than 5 minutes left in the second period in a 4-on-4 situation.
Datsyuk lost a faceoff in the Nashville end, then snatched the puck from Roman Josi behind the net while Rinne stood and seemed to relax for a moment and scored before the 6-foot-5 goaltender could get in position to do anything about it.
Datsyuk had an opportunity to tie the game a couple minutes later on a rebound, but his shot slid wide of the open net.
The Red Wings, who had just 17 shots in their 3-2 win Friday night, peppered Rinne with pucks without much success on Sunday.
Nashville was 0-6 at Detroit in postseason matchups the Red Wings won in 2008 and 2004.
“The series is a long way from over, ” said Wings goalie Jimmy Howard who had 19 shots on goal in the loss.
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