Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar's prior game against the Los Angeles Kings wasn't that long ago. But it's a on he likely won't ever forget.
The 23-year-old Slovakian scored the winning goal at Staples Center last Saturday before pointing skyward to honor his father, Jan, who died last week after struggling with a liver ailment.
Tatar played the following night in a 1-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks before flying home for his father's funeral.
Tatar will be back in the lineup Saturday when the Red Wings take on the Kings again, and memories of his game-winner from last week are fresh in his mind.
"We want to win every night. I was happy I could help," Tatar told the Red Wings website. "That goal meant to me and my family a lot too."
Tatar has 10 goals in 38 games and will be relied on to provide some offense for a team that has lost 1-0 in each of its past two. He will replace veteran Mikael Samuelsson in the lineup when the Red Wings open a season-long five-game homestand.
Detroit enters sixth in the Atlantic Division and will need to win at home to spark a run heading into the upcoming Olympic break.
"We play at home not good enough. I think our fans deserve better. But we are trying," Tatar said. "We have lots of injuries, but it's not an excuse. This is a tough building to play in. We have to just play and we'll get some points."
Jimmy Howard will start in goal for the Red Wings; Jonathan Quick starts for the Kings.