The Detroit Red Wings will try to even the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals at two games apiece, when they host the Nashville Predators in a pivotal Game 4 tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit earned a split in the first two games in Nashville, but the Red Wings fell behind 2-1 in this series after dropping Sunday's Game 3 by a 3-2 score. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne turned in a stellar performance, stopping 41 shots to help his team bounce back from a 3-2 loss in Game 2. Rinne has stopped 90-of-97 shots for a .928 save percentage in this series.
After going 31-7-3 as the home team this season, the fifth-seeded Red Wings will need to win tonight or else face elimination when the series shifts back to Nashville for Game 5 on Friday. Detroit was just 17-21-3 as the guest during the regular season.
Kevin Klein had a goal and an assist for the fourth-seeded Predators on Sunday, while Shea Weber and Sergei Kostitsyn also lit the lamp.
"They had a great home record this year," Weber said. "We knew it was going to be a hard game right from the get-go."
Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, while Henrik Zetterberg also scored. Jimmy Howard turned aside 19-of-22 shots in defeat.
"Let's be honest, if you look at the game, the puck didn't go in for us," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "It did for them and we've got to change that next game."
Nashville, which had the NHL's top-rated power play during the regular season, was able to score its first goal of this series with the man advantage on Sunday. The Preds failed to score on 12 opportunities through the first two games, but went 1-for-4 on the power play in Game 3.
Meanwhile, Detroit had killed off the last 37 power plays it had faced coming into Sunday's game.
"We have to find a way to stay out of the box. It kind of kills your rhythm, trying to get four lines going," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.
On the injury front for Nashville, the club has played the first three games without defenseman Hal Gill, who was acquired from Montreal before the trade deadline to add depth to the blue line. The 6-foot-7 Gill is questionable for tonight's game with a lower-body injury.
The Predators, who have only made it past the first round of the playoffs once in team history, are looking for their first playoff series victory against the Red Wings in the third meeting between the clubs. The Central Division rivals also met in the first round in 2004 and '08, with Detroit taking both series in six games.