The heroes of the Nashville Predators’ first two 2012 postseason victories shared the spotlight Tuesday.
Gabriel Bourque and Kevin Klein each scored third-period goals as the Nashville Predators defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The victory was the Predators’ second straight at Joe Louis Arena, where Detroit was a league-best 31-7-3 during the regular season, and gave them a 3-1 lead (a first for the franchise) in the best-of-seven series.
They will have their first opportunity to close out the series Friday at Bridgestone Arena (7 p.m., SportSouth).
After three straight one-goal affairs, David Legwand scored unassisted with 38.9 seconds to play in this one and provided a rare cushion at the finish. That one came 17 seconds after Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg was called for high-sticking and was just the Predators’ second power play goal in 19 tries this postseason.
The game was scoreless until Bourque scored on a one-timer 1:55 into the third period. The rookie left wing had two goals in Nashville’s Game 1 victory.
Klein, a defenseman who had a goal and an assist in Game 3 on Sunday, got the decisive one this time with 13:35 to play. He now has more goals in the last two games than he had in 19 previous postseason appearances.
After that, the Predators held on despite the fact that they were outshot 41-17 and committed seven penalties that led to seven Detroit power plays, two of which came after Klein’s goal.
Jiri Hudler scored the Red Wings’ only goal 30 seconds into the first of three man-advantages of the third period. Nashville was called for too many men on the ice 49 seconds after Bourque scored, and Hudler tied the game when he redirected a Niklas Kronwall shot.
Goalie Pekka Rinne made 40 saves and improved to 11-11 all-time in playoff games. He has made 116 saves (an average of 38.7 per game) in Nashville’s three victories in this series.
Alexander Radulov had an assist for the third straight game. He, Bourque and Klein currently share the team lead with three points apiece in the series.