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Secondary scoring comes alive in win

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Tomas Tatar checks Matt Bartkowski, the same Bruins' defenseman that the Red Wings' forward beat on his second-period goal Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – Opportunities have come and gone for Tomas Tatar making this a rollercoaster season for the reigning AHL playoff MVP.

Tatar snapped a 10 game goal-scoring drought and added an assist Wednesday as the Red Wings got offensive contributions up and down the lineup in a 6-1 shellacking of the Boston Bruins.

“It’s been some time since I scored the last one, so this is a relief,” Tatar said. “Before I had some huge opportunities in (past) games but just couldn’t put it in. So I was mad. I might change the game before, but now I’m really happy it went in, especially that we get the win against the Bruins. This is huge for us.”

Tatar’s goal at 6:05 of the second period was the Wings’ first shot on goal in the middle frame, and it wasn’t short on flair and theatrics. The highlight reel goal began at the Red Wings’ blue line. He took a pass from Brian Lashoff, danced around Bruins center Chris Kelly near center ice and out-raced defenseman Matt Bartkowski to the goal line. As Tatar gained speed around Bartkowski, he fell, but quickly picked himself up, dashed around the net and stuffed the puck into the empty side before Boston goalie Tuukka Rask could react.

“I think the slick little play that he made in the neutral zone to get around that guy, not a lot of guys can do that, so for him to make that play was great,” forward Drew Miller said. “Then to carry it in and go all the way in to get the wraparound goal was a big goal for us. It shows the possibilities that he has offensively to hang onto the puck and hold on to it.”

Tatar’s goal was the beginning of a three-goal effort in the second period in which the Red Wings only generated eight shots on Rask. Niklas Kronwall’s third goal of the season put Detroit up 3-0, and then Henrik Zetterberg scored on the power play to give the Red Wings a 4-0 edge.

Tatar later added an assist on Miller’s third-period goal, which was followed by Gustav Nyquist’s third in four games since being called up permanently from Grand Rapids.

Tatar, Nyquist, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Joakim Andersson all had two points each, while Johan Franzen chipped in with three assists.

“I was really happy every line kind of had something to do for the team and it was a great team effort,” Tatar said. “It’s really nice to win against a team like this with this kind of score.”

Secondary scoring has been a season-long concern for the Red Wings, so it was a pleasure to see the fourth line of Tatar, Miller and Andersson collected two goals and three assists, particularly against a Bruins squad that entered Wednesday’s game with an 8-1-1 record in their previous 10 games.

It was the best overall effort by the Red Wings this season, and they did it without Pavel Datsyuk, who missed his second straight game with a possible concussion.

“We work pretty hard most nights. Today we were rewarded,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We had puck luck and got some energy and got going. I think that was the biggest thing. We’ve played lots of good games this year; we haven’t won lots of games. That’s the fact, because we never score. … I thought we built off what we’ve been building and it was a positive for the guys.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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