The Detroit Red Wings are one loss from elimination from the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs after dropping Game Four of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Nashville Predators, 3-1.
The Predators now lead the series 3-1 as it heads back to Nashville for Game Five.
The Red Wings dominated the scoreless first two periods of the game, carrying a 28-11 shooting advantage into the third. It would be Nashville, however, that opened the game’s scoring.
Just 1:55 into the period, Gabriel Bourque was left along in front of Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard to take a feed from Alexander Radulov and snap a shot into the back of the net. The goal came shortly after the Predators thought they had made it 1-0 but an apparent goal was called off on an “intent to blow” play.
The Red Wings would even things up at 3:14. Niklas Kronwall’s rocket from the blue line was tipped in front of the net by Jiri Hudler, with the deflection rising over Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne for a power play goal.
At 6:25, the Predators regained the lead when three Red Wings followed Martin Erat into the corner and Howard shifted right to track the play. This left Patrick Holmqvist and Kevin Klein wide open in front, and Erat fed Klein for an easy shot into the vacated net.
The Predators finished off the scoring with 39 seconds left in regulation. With Nashville on a power play, Danny Cleary attempted to carry the puck out from behind his own goal and start a rush. At the side of the crease, David Legwand poked the puck off his stick and it slipped through Howard, ending Detroit’s chance at a comeback.
Each team had a power play goal on the night, with the Red Wings having seven power plays to Nashville’s three.
Howard made 14 saves on 17 shots against while Rinne stopped 40 of 41 chances.
Game Five of the series will be on Friday.