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Erat's pair helps Preds make it six in a row

by Brian Compton /
Martin Erat helped the Nashville Predators put the Detroit Red Wings in the rearview mirror on Monday night.

Erat scored twice and Pekka Rinne made 30 saves as Nashville won its sixth straight with a 3-1 victory at Sommet Center. The victory put the Preds ahead of Detroit in the Central Division standings, as the Wings have lost three of their last four games.

''We're just playing better and just putting everything together,'' Erat said. ''The power play's playing better. The penalty kill is doing better, and 5-on-5, they don't score any goals against us.''

Jason Arnott also scored for Nashville, which has won 10 of 12. Drew Miller scored the lone goal for the Red Wings, who were playing their first game without injured defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

''We had a lot of opportunities,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ''I thought Rinne was really good in net. ... They battled hard, their goaltender was good, and we were unable to finish at their net.''

Arnott's goal came via the power play and broke a scoreless tie at 10:24 of the first period. With Todd Bertuzzi serving an interference penalty, Arnott took a pass from Steve Sullivan and fired a backhander that was denied by Chris Osgood. But Arnott collected his own rebound and wristed it home for his seventh goal of the season.

Erat made it 2-0 with a power-play goal of his own just 1:41 into the second period. After Tomas Holmstrom was whistled for hooking near the conclusion of the first, Erat took a pass from Joel Ward and ripped a slap shot past Osgood. Nashville, which won all five games on its homestand, went 2-for-4 with the man advantage.

'They scored on their power play, and we didn't,'' Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. ''I think that was the big difference today.''

Miller cut the deficit in half on a wrist shot at 6:38 of the second, but Erat restored Nashville's two-goal lead with 2:20 left in the game for his fourth goal of the season. Sixteen of Rinne's saves came in the third period.

''They were all over us,'' Arnott said. ''If it wasn't for Peks, we probably would've ended up losing the game.''

''It's been kind of growing and growing,'' Rinne said. ''The confidence is the biggest thing and right now we have a good thing going, and hopefully we can keep it going.''

Material from wire services was used in this report. 

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