Kevin Klein played in his 400th career NHL game on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators. All 400 NHL games have come with the Nashville Predators after he was drafted by the team in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, which actually took place in Nashville.
Klein has been a stable part of the Predators defense corps. since the 2008-09 season and has become one of the leaders of the team despite not having a letter on his jersey to show for it. Klein’s 400th career NHL game on Saturday night ended in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Senators, but it was a nice milestone for him.
“He’s one of those young draft choices. Obviously, he was drafted in the same year as the [Ryan] Suter and [Shea] Weber draft. He’s been steady. He’s a stay-at-home type of guy, who really skates extremely well. He’s a lot stronger than people really give him credit for, and he’s grown up with the Predators. As the game keeps moving on you, you have a lot of younger guys. You have a lot of different partners. He’s one of the veteran guys we have to always rely on,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.
“It’s just a number,” Klein said. “You don’t really look at those things. It’s been a great ride, all in Nashville obviously. It’s been fun.”
The Predators weren’t able to make Klein’s 400th game as successful as it could have been, but they did manage to get a point in the standings and really played a solid game. The Predators had an opportunity to win the game in overtime with a power play chance, but weren’t able to do so. The game went to a shootout, and Ottawa scored on both of their shots and stopped both of Nashville’s shots to win the game.
“We had our opportunities,” Klein said. “We even had a 4-on-3 at the end, we just couldn’t convert. It seems to be going that way. We’ve just got to get points every game, and it would’ve been nice to win it in the shootout.”
Defensively, Klein and the Predators did a good job for the most part of keeping the Senators to the outside on Saturday night. Nashville played a good game defensively, holding an Ottawa team with considerable offensive talent to just one goal through regulation and overtime.
“The guys did a great job of limiting a lot of their skill. They’ve got three really good lines that can work it. The guys did a good job deflecting them and taking away [Erik] Karlsson as much as he likes to jump in the play. I think we did a good job for the most part tonight,” Klein said.
Even though the Predators got a point in the standings, they will be looking for more on Sunday night in what will be a pivotal game for them. Nashville will take on the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night at Bridgestone Arena in the back half of back-to-back home games on consecutive days.
“We need that win,” Klein said. “We’ve had a homestand here, we’ve just got to battle it out. They’re a good team. They’re one of the teams we’re trying to chase, and we definitely need two points [Sunday].”