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Tatar helps Red Wings rally past Predators

by Robby Stanley /

NASHVILLE -- Tomas Tatar’s goal at 9:06 of the third period gave the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

Tatar tried to make a pass to Pavel Datsyuk, but the puck deflected off Nashville defenseman Roman Josi and got past goaltender Pekka Rinne. Detroit caught Nashville on a line change and Tatar scored his 25th goal.

"I missed before, an empty net, and then I tried to look for [Datsyuk] for an empty net on the left side," Tatar said. "When I passed, it went back and I think went off the skate or the stick and popped into the net."

Detroit finished its six-game road trip 4-1-1 and has defeated Nashville in two games this season.

"It was a good trip for us," Tatar said. "We proved we can play with the best teams in the League. We were strong the whole trip, and I think we’re really happy with how it [went] for us."

The Predators have lost two games in a row in regulation for the first time this season and are 26-5-1 at Bridgestone Arena.

"We lost our second game and there are things we need to do better," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think we can and will do better, but they are playing hard. We will fix those things and be ready."

Brendan Smith gave Detroit a 1-0 lead at 7:22 of the first period on a wrist shot that went past Rinne. Smith joined the rush and was left uncovered for his fourth goal.

"We started good, and then somehow we got soft in the second period," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Turnovers, didn’t win enough battles, and then we got in the third and played better. It was a different type game, you couldn’t get a penalty no matter what you did early, and then you couldn’t stay out of the box late."

Drew Miller gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead at 2:03 of the second on a wrist shot that deflected off Rinne and into the net. Miller was on a 2-on-1 rush with forward Tomas Jurco and elected to take the shot for his fourth goal.

Nashville forward Matt Cullen scored 30 seconds later to make it 2-1. Cullen went to the net and got the rebound in the crease and shot it past Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson for his sixth goal.

"It felt like a playoff game from about 15 years ago," Cullen said. "There was a lot of obstruction, a lot of hooking and holding. It was a different style of game. We have been able to find a way to succeed and win games regardless of what we are faced with. We didn’t have an answer for that tonight, but we will get back to work and get our game back."

Predators forward Mike Fisher tied the game 2-2 at 6:02 of the second on a shot from the slot. Nashville defenseman Cody Franson intentionally banked the puck off of boards behind the net, and the puck banked right to Fisher for his 15th goal.

"Nashville’s obviously got a high-octane back end," Babcock said. "A really explosive back end, great goaltending, and the back end really makes those forwards look good. I mean they’ve got good forwards, but they’re quicker because of the ability their back end has to move the puck."

Defenseman Shea Weber gave the Predators a 3-2 lead at 16:08 of the second with a power-play goal. Weber took a pass from Mike Ribeiro and one-timed the puck past Gustavsson for his 15th goal.

"It just all about us trying to have some energy, especially toward the end of the game there," Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser said. "At the end of a long trip, you’ve got to make sure that mentally you’re focused, dialed in, knowing what’s going on out there and making sure that you’re just making easy plays."

Detroit defenseman Alexey Marchenko tied the game 3-3 at 3:56 of the third period on a wrist shot that went over Rinne’s shoulder. Marchenko took the pass from forward Justin Abdelkader and shot the puck from the right faceoff circle for his first NHL goal in his 12th game.

The Red Wings killed two penalties in the final five minutes.

"We stick together and battle like a team, and we scored goals," Tatar said. "The guys did an amazing penalty kill at the end, and it won the game for us. You don’t want to give up. If it’s a tight game, you still want to win. Twenty minutes in hockey can go so fast and you never know what’s going to happen. When we were down one goal, we said we would stick to the plan and do what we do."

Detroit forward Darren Helm left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. The Red Wings didn’t have an update on his status after the game.

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