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Tatar stays hot, earns NHL's second star

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist helps Tomas Tatar celebrate his second-period goal in St. Louis last week. Tatar finished the week with five goals and seven points. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROITTomas Tatar made himself available for a linemate’s pass, racing toward the net late in the second period Saturday night.

It wasn’t a perfect pass. The puck skipped at the last second. But Tatar adjusted, batting it out of the air and behind the Nashville goalie.

“It was just a reaction,” Tatar said. “I cut to the middle and I saw (the) puck coming in the air, just knock it in.”

It was just another example of how hot Tatar has been lately.

“I don't know. It was just a quick reaction,” Tatar said, modestly. “It was more luck than anything else. I was just happy the puck went in.”

Tatar helped pace the Red Wings’ four-game winning streak last week, producing five goals, including a game-winner against the Predators, and two assists, thus earning recognition from the NHL as the Second Star of the Week.

It’s the second time this season that Tatar has received the Second Star accolade. He was honored for a five-point performance in three games for the week of Nov. 23.

In Sunday's 6-4 comeback win over Buffalo, Tatar recorded his 21st goal and added his 13th assist for his seventh multi-point game of the season. The performance also extended his point streak to five games, which includes five goals in his last four games.

Tatar has had a tremendous transformation from the beginning of the season when he had just one goal and no assists in his first nine games. Since then he has registered 20 goals and 13 assists in his last 37. He has nine goals and three assists in the last 12.

Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, who had a five-point week, have had outstanding seasons as the Red Wings top two goal scorers.

“They’re good players. They just got to turn into good pros now,” coach Mike Babcock said. “They got to learn to work every single day and do it right all the time. If they do that and they stay hungry and they’re really driven they become really good players.”

Tatar is among 10 players who have registered 20 or more goals this season. His 21 goals ranks tied for seventh with Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Montreal’s Max Paciorretty. Dallas center Tyler Seguin and New York Rangers forward Rick Nash are tied for the league lead with 28 goals.

Tatar’s five game-winning goals this season is also tied with six others for second in the league. Arizona defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads with six winners.

“Both Tats and Nyquist are scoring a lot of goals for us. It's fun to see,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It seems like when one gets one, the other one is not long after, scoring too. It's good. They're working hard, both of them, and it's well-deserved.”

Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo were named last week's first and third stars, respectively.

The Red Wings host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. It’s the last game before the league’s All-Star Game recess.

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