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Nashville goalie stops 41 Detroit shots

4/12/2004

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tomas Vokoun made the Nashville Predators' first home playoff game in their six-year history a memory to savor.

Vokoun came up with 22 of his 41 saves in the third period as
the Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Sunday for their first
playoff victory, pulling within 2-1 in the first-round series.

David Legwand scored a short-handed goal, Adam Hall had a goal
and an assist and Scott Hartnell padded the lead with a goal as the
Predators finally made some postseason history they can enjoy.

"Obviously, this is an important game," Nashville coach Barry
Trotz said. "Detroit is a veteran team, and they wanted to put a
nail in the coffin today, and we didn't let them. Hopefully, we can
continue to make this a series."

The Predators started celebrating this historic moment by
throwing a party outside the arena for their fans, and they had
such stars as country singer Vince Gill on hand inside to mark the
occasion.

The Red Wings looked ready to spoil the day as they outshot
Nashville 15-1 in the first 15 minutes.

But Vokoun, the only reason the Predators have stayed close
in this series, more than atoned for having the winning goal bounce
in off his skate in Detroit's 2-1 victory Saturday. He gave his
teammates the chance to cool off the Red Wings.

"Vokoun played unbelievable," Detroit goalie Manny Legace
said. "He stood on his head and stole the game."

He stopped Detroit early, and he was at his best in protecting
Nashville's lead in the third period. Brett Hull scored his first
goal this postseason at 5:21 of the third to avoid the shutout;
Detroit now has outscored Nashville 5-1 in the third period this
series.

That would be it, though.

Vokoun stopped Hull twice at the net early in the period, and he
had a kick save of Mathieu Schneider, who got credit for
Saturday's winning goal. Greg Johnson made the biggest save with
Nashville leading 2-1 when he cleared the puck from the crease
after it slipped through Vokoun's legs on a shot by Jiri Fischer
from the blue line.

Detroit forward Brendan Shanahan said Vokoun was the difference.

"Those weren't routine saves that he was making. A few of them
he didn't even see the puck, so we're getting good traffic, getting
good shots. [We've] just got to stick with it," Shanahan said.

Vokoun stopped short of calling it his best game.

"But it's more the timing of it, to get the first win for the
team in the playoffs. The playoffs are fun, and I'm having a lot of
fun," Vokoun said.

Game 4 will be Tuesday night in Nashville.

Goals had been very scarce for the Predators, with a stingy
Legace giving up only two over the first 138 minutes of the series.
Detroit had outshot the Predators 12-2 when Nashville finally got
going with a flurry in the final two minutes of the first period.

With the Red Wings on the power play, Legwand, a Detroit native,
stole a pass from Derian Hatcher just inside the zone. He skated
down ice and scored his first playoff goal over Legace's right pad.

That got the Predators going, and Legace had to stop Johnson
with his left pad on a two-on-one seconds later. Kirk Maltby helped
swat away the puck as it floated through the air in front of the
goal.

Then Hall, of Kalamazoo, Mich., got his second playoff goal,
scoring from the right circle at 19:45 of the period off assists
from Johnson and Jason York. That brought the fans to their feet
for a standing ovation and a much-needed boost for Nashville.

"Anybody who was here felt the energy," Vokoun said. "The
fans were unbelievable. It was the best moment since I've been in
Nashville."

Hartnell provided the final edge when he squeezed the puck
between Legace's left foot and the post off a perfect pass from
Hall with 3:57 remaining. The Red Wings pulled Legace with 1:56
left, but Vokoun stopped Shanahan at the post in the final
seconds.

Game notes
Detroit went 0-for-5 on the power play and now is 1-for-15
in this series with the man advantage, compared to 0-for-12 for
Nashville. ... Five of Detroit's six goals in this series have come
in the third period. ... Detroit tied Tampa Bay for most
short-handed goals in the regular season with 15. Nashville had 14
in a league where the average was 8.1 per team. ... Hull now has
101 postseason goals, behind Jari Kurri (106) for third all-time.