April 15, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Kevin Klein (8) celebrates his goal in the second period of game three of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
The Predators won Game 3 on a few lucky bounces, but also with some stand-out supporting play from players like Kevin Klein, who had a solid game.
Shea Weber was a focal point in the Nashville Predators' 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 on Sunday, but fellow defenseman Kevin Klein deserved the spotlight. Coming up with two points and a huge bailout late in the game, Klein was a vital piece of the puzzle as the Preds hung on for the tough victory.
Klein's a mobile defenseman known for his ability to push the puck up the ice, not his goal-scoring ability, but he broke the mold on a partial breakaway after picking up a pass from Martin Erat. Klein used his 6'1, 200-pound frame to stay up while being hooked and got the puck up and over Jimmy Howard for a beauty of a goal.
"I had some speed so I thought I'd try something," Klein told the assembled media following the game. "It's just one of those plays where you read and react."
Klein also plays a shutdown role for Nashville, and other than Hal Gill, who remains out of the lineup, Klein's one guy who's not afraid of lying down in front of a slap shot. He was second on the team in blocked shots this year.
That shined through in the third period. The Wings were in complete control, and it seemed like Detroit would tie the game at any point. Pekka Rinne had been saving Nashville up to this point, but at 5:39 on a two-on-two chance, Rinne was caught on the other side of the net, leaving it open for a shot by Drew Miller.
Klein was there to answer.
"I know Peks is going to make the first save, so I was just trying to make sure that I can get in there and get the rebound by having a stick on it, which is nice," Klein said.
The contributions of Klein were absolutely vital to the Predators taking a 2-1 series lead on Sunday afternoon, and of course it never hurts when a guy like Klein gets a big goal for his team, either. Klein's game helped give Nashville the edge. Can Detroit respond once again in Game 4? And who will step up to be the hero?
Stick with SBNation.com for Predators vs. Red Wings series coverage. For more on the Predators, visit On the Forecheck. For updates on the Red Wings, check out Winging It in Motown and SB Nation Detroit.