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Weber stays focused in Predator win; 'D' star silences Red Wings fans

DETROIT -- Shea Weber knew he wouldn't be popular in the Motor City.

The star defenseman didn't really care, he just wanted to win.

Weber turned boos into silence with a goal early in the first period and the Nashville Predators held on to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2, Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

"I guess we're more focused on the game," he said.

Weber was jeered every time he touched the puck for smashing Henrik Zetterberg's face into glass at the end of Game One.

"We talk about great players when there's a little bit of controversy stepping up," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "When he came to the rink, he knew he wasn't going to be the most likable player in the arena."

Weber's goal snapped Nashville's 0-for-12 streak on the power play against the Red Wings in the series and helped the franchise end its 0-for-6 skid in playoff games against them on the road.

"We haven't been around for 100 years, so this was just another thing we had to get done," Trotz said.

The Predators, who are in their 13th NHL season, advanced in the playoffs last year for the first time and are trying to get past the Red Wings after being eliminated by them in 2008 and 2004.

Just when it looked like the Red Wings were finished off for sure in Game Three, Zetterberg scored with 54 seconds left to pull the Red Wings within one, but they couldn't force overtime.

Detroit will need to win Tuesday night at home to avoid facing elimination in Game Five at Nashville.


Panthers square series

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Stephen Weiss scored the first two playoff goals of his 10-year NHL career, Jose Theodore stopped 23 shots and the Florida Panthers got their first playoff victory in nearly 15 years, beating the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, to even the first-round series at a game apiece.

Marcel Goc had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who survived a frantic Devils rally in the third.

Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk scored in the first 2:02 of the third period, and Martin Brodeur made 20 saves for New Jersey, losing a playoff game to Florida for the first time in six career postseason starts against the Panthers.

"It's important to stay composed," Brodeur said. "I think it's easy to get frustrated and not be happy about the situation because we had a chance to go up 2-0 in the series. But at the end of the day, you go on the road, you should be happy to split the series."

Tomas Fleischmann had an empty-net goal as time expired and Florida fans littered the ice with hundreds of toy rats -- a tradition that dates to the Panthers' run to the 1996 Stanley Cup finals.

Game Three in the Eastern Conference series is Tuesday night in New Jersey.


Rangers lose Hagelin

NEW YORK -- Rangers forward Carl Hagelin was suspended for three games by the NHL on Sunday for elbowing Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the head during New York's loss in Game Two of the first-round Eastern Conference series.

Hagelin apologized earlier Sunday, after a telephone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and hoped to avoid punishment beyond the major penalty he served Saturday night. But instead, he will miss the next three games of the best-of-seven series, which is tied 1-1. Game Three is tonight (7:30 p.m., Ch. 5).

The Rangers were miffed by the severity of Hagelin's punishment in light of Nashville's Shea Weber receiving only a $2,500 fine for smashing the head of Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg into the glass at the end of Game One of that series. Zetterberg wasn't injured on the play.

"The New York Rangers accept the NHL's three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal," the team said in a statement. "However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs."

The Senators didn't escape unscathed, either, as defenseman Matt Carkner was given a one-game suspension Sunday for his role in a one-sided fight he started against Rangers forward Brian Boyle just 2:15 into Game Two.

In tonight's other games:

*After hosting a 1-0 single-overtime win in Game One and a 2-1 double-overtime loss in Game Two, the Boston Bruins travel to the nation's capital for Game Three (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) against the Capitals.

*Star goalie Jaroslav Halak will miss Game Three of the St. Louis Blues' first-round series against the San Jose Sharks because of a lower-body injury. Coach Ken Hitchcock ruled Halak out of tonight's game in San Jose (10 p.m., NBCSN).

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