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Red Wings' Tatar scores twice in win vs. Predators

by Paul Harris /

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings' second line had a big game against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Left wing Tomas Tatar had two goals and an assist, right wing Gustav Nyquist a goal and an assist and center Riley Sheahan two assists to lead Detroit to a 5-2 win at Joe Louis Arena.

"They're good players, real good players playing good and feeling good," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Riley's a big, big man (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) who knows how to play without the puck and makes real good plays with it, so he looks after those guys good."

Kyle Quincey and Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit (25-11-9), which won its third consecutive game. Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall had two assists each and Petr Mrazek made 34 saves.

"I guess it's confidence," Sheahan said. "I play with two linemates that do a great job of getting open and they finish really well too, so I've got to give a lot of credit to them."

Mattias Ekholm and Mike Fisher scored for the Predators (30-10-4), who entered the game with the NHL's best record. Starting goalie Carter Hutton was pulled in favor of Marek Mazanec after allowing three goals on four shots. Mazanec made 18 saves.

The loss ended Nashville's five-game winning streak.

"We made mistakes and didn't do a good job trying to cover up for those mistakes," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "I liked the way we played tonight. We made some mistakes."

Nyquist opened the scoring 57 seconds in with the fastest goal to open a game this season for Detroit. On a 2-on-1 rush after a quick transition, he tapped in a cross-ice saucer pass from Sheahan. It was Nyquist's 17th goal.

Quincey and Tatar scored 1:10 apart.

Quincey got his third goal with 8:38 left in the first period when, off a faceoff, when the defenseman's slap shot from the left point caromed off Nashville's Craig Smith and defenseman Victor Bartley and bounced past Hutton.

Tatar chased Hutton with a screened wrist shot from the left circle after taking a nice backhand pass out of the left corner from Nyquist.

"Obviously that was a big part of the game, starting on time," Babcock said. "We got off to a real good start and then I thought we got a little bit careless late in the first."

Ekholm got the Predators on the scoreboard with 1:22 remaining in the opening period. His shot from the slot deflected in off the knob of Quincey's stick. It was Ekholm's fifth goal and second in two games.

Zetterberg and Tatar scored power-play goals in the second period.

Zetterberg made it 4-1 at 2:14 when his attempt from below the goal line bounced in off of Mazanec's helmet. It was Zetterberg's 11th goal of the season.

Tatar got his second goal of the game and 20th of the season with 39 seconds left in the second period when he tipped Sheahan's pass out of the air from in front. Tatar has four goals and an assist in his past three games.

"I played with [Nyquist] and [Sheahan] for a little while now and I guess there's some chemistry," Tatar said. "The whole team is doing right now good, every line is playing really good for us. It's fun to play on the ice when we're winning and when we're doing good."

It's Tatar's first 20-goal season; he had 19 goals in 73 games in 2013-14.

"I'm not really thinking about it right now, but obviously I'm happy I did it and hopefully I'll keep scoring and help the team pick up wins," Tatar said. "Right now I don't realize it. I took it as just another game and we won and that's the big thing right now."

Fisher's power-play goal 49 seconds into the third period made it 5-2 when he put in a rebound for his ninth goal. Fisher has a six-game point streak (four goals and three assists).

"They came out strong and got some chances. They got some breaks early," Fisher said. "That second one went off of four guys. … It was their night for sure. [We had] turnovers a couple of times. They're a good rush team."

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