For the second consecutive game, goaltender Pekka Rinne made 40-plus saves as he backstopped the Predators to a victory in Game Four. Rinne turned aside 40-of-41 shots on goal – after stopping 41 shots in Game Three – to record the 11th postseason win of his career. He has made at least 35 saves in three of four games this series – winning all three of those contests. Rinne is just the eighth goalie in the past 24 postseasons with three 35-save outings against the Wings in a series. During the regular season, he was 14-0-2 when making at least 35 saves.
Detroit’s 41 shots in Game Four were the third-highest shot total Rinne has faced in his postseason career. He faced 43 shots in Game Three on Sunday and 47 shots in Game Three of the 2011 Western Conference Semifinals against Vancouver (May 3, 2011). During the regular season, Rinne was 5-0-2 with a 1.66 goal-against average and .958 save percentage in the seven games in which he faced 40-or-more shots on goal, including a 4-3 win over the Red Wings in Nashville on Dec. 15.
The Kempele, Finland native is the franchise’s all-time leader in nearly every postseason goaltending category including games played (22) and wins (11). He posted a franchise-record for goals-against average in a series (1.94) along with a .932 save percentage in the 2011 WCS vs. Vancouver. Dating back to Game One of Nashville’s series against the Canucks, Rinne has turned aside 307-of-328 shots against (.935).
BOURQUE, KLEIN AND LEGWAND IN THE CLUTCH
In Game Four, the Predators received offense from multiple sources to help extend their series lead over the Wings. Gabriel Bourque tallied his third goal of the postseason just 1:55 into the final frame. His three markers tie Alexander Radulov’s franchise record for most goals by a rookie in a playoff season set during the 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. San Jose and tie him for the League lead among rookies. In Game One, Bourque became just the third player in the last 14 playoff years to record two goals in his NHL playoff debut – Radulov and Washington’s Mike Green are the others.
Kevin Klein notched his second goal in as many games as he netted the eventual game-winner less than five minutes after Bourque’s goal. It was his first career postseason game-winning goal. This is the first time in Klein’s career (regular season and playoffs) that he has posted goals in consecutive games. He has three points (2g-1a) this playoff season after posting five points (1g-4a) in his first 18 career postseason outings.
David Legwand tallied a power-play goal with 39 seconds remaining in regulation to ice the win for Nashville. The goal was Legwand’s second career postseason power-play goal. Legwand now has seven points (5g-2a) in his last eight postseason games. The Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., native is the Predators’ franchise leader in nearly every postseason offensive category, including points (24), goals (11), plus/minus (+7) and games played (41).
PLAYOFF QUICK HITS
• Nashville is 1-0 all-time when face with the opportunity of closing out a series. It defeated Anaheim by a 4-2 margin in Game Six of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals 48 hours after going up 3-2 in the series with a 4-3 overtime win in Southern California.
• This is the third Western Conference Quarterfinals series between Nashville and Detroit. The Red Wings have won both of the previous series – 4-2 in 2004 and 4-2 in 2008. Nashville has played more playoff games (16) against Detroit than any other team in their seven trips to the postseason.
• Thirteen of the 16 postseason games between the Predators and Red Wings have been decided by two goals or fewer.
• Three players remain on Nashville’s roster from the 2004 WCQ series vs. Detroit – Erat, Legwand and Tootoo. Eight players who played against Detroit in the 2008 WCQ remain – Erat, Legwand, Radulov, Suter, Tootoo and Weber.
• Nashville is returning 14 players from last season’s playoff team – Erat, Fisher, Halischuk, Hornqvist, Klein, Sergei Kostitsyn, Legwand, Lindback, Rinne, Spaling, Suter, Tootoo, Weber and Wilson. Francis Bouillon was injured and did not play during the 2011 playoffs.
• Martin Erat has posted the most assists (14) in franchise postseason history. He ranks second to Legwand on the franchise’s all-time playoff points (21), goals (7) and games played (40) lists.
• Hal Gill – who has missed the first four games this series – is tied for sixth among active defensemen in postseason games played. He has skated in 105 career playoff games, making him the most experienced Predator in the postseason. Sixty-nine of those games have come in the past four seasons.
• Ryan Suter (33gp) and Shea Weber (33gp) have each taken the ice in every Predators’ playoff game over the team’s last four trips to the postseason – they are the only players to do so.