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Associated Press
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard deflects a shot as Nashville’s Paul Gaustad is checked by Nicklas Lidstrom during the second period in Detroit on Tuesday. The Predators defeated Detroit 3-1.
NHL playoffs

Predators lead Wings 3-1

– Kevin Klein scored a go-ahead goal 6:25 into the third period and Pekka Rinne made 40 saves, lifting the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night and a 3-1 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

The Predators can eliminate Detroit in Game 5 on Friday night in Nashville.

Predators rookie Gabriel Bourque broke a scoreless tie 1:55 into the third period. Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall tied it 1:19 later with a power-play goal that was waved off on the ice but reversed by video review.

The Red Wings pulled goalie Jimmy Howard to add an extra skater with 1:31 left but had to put him back in the net because Henrik Zetterberg was called for high-sticking with 55.8 seconds left. David Legwand’s power-play goal sealed the win with 39 seconds left.

Rinne stopped the first 29 shots he faced, including a kick save on Nicklas Lidstrom’s slap shot at the end of the second period. Howard made 14 saves.

The Red Wings nearly took a 1-0 lead just before Klein’s goal, but Jiri Hudler’s shot hit a goal post.

Martin Erat blew past Detroit’s defense, including Lidstrom, on the following sequence up the middle of the ice, drew three Red Wings to the left and passed the puck back to an uncovered Klein in front for a shot into the net vacated by the helpless Howard.

Nashville put the Red Wings on a power play 50 seconds later, just as it did after the first goal, but they couldn’t take advantage. Detroit failed to score on another power play that expired with 4-plus minutes left in the game.

Detroit was determined to start strong and it did, controlling the puck and the play as if on a power play during even-strength situations.

Six-plus minutes in, the Red Wings looked as though they might score when Pavel Datsyuk set up Danny Cleary, but Cleary couldn’t take advantage. Zetterberg later made a cross-ice pass to put Kronwall in a position to score, but he couldn’t get his stick on a backhanded attempt to test Rinne.

The teams failed on five total power plays in the first period.

Detroit peppered Rinne with 17 shots in the second and still couldn’t get the puck past him. The Red Wings didn’t allow a shot for almost 9 minutes in the second and gave up just three in the lopsided period.

Early in the third, Legwand appeared to put the Predators ahead, but officials ruled he didn’t score because the whistle was blown before the puck was in the net.

Just 14 seconds later, Bourque scored his third goal in his first playoff series. He took a pass from Alexander Radulov, that was redirected off the skate of Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, and scored from in front.

Kronwall answered with a slap shot that went in the net and bounced out, leading a video review that gave fans at Joe Louis Arena a rare opportunity to cheer.

PANTHERS 4, DEVILS 3: In Newark, N.J., Brian Campbell scored on a second-period power play and Florida staged its greatest playoff comeback in franchise history, rallying from an early three-goal deficit.

Sean Bergenheim, Jason Garrison and Mike Weaver also scored and Scott Clemmensen made 19 saves after replacing Jose Theodore early in giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Game 4 will be played here on Thursday.

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