Tatar begins to provide some offense for Red Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Buffalo, N.Y. — Tomas Tatar felt his goal-scoring was going to come around, he simply needed a lucky bounce, or a fluke play, and the tide would turn a positive way.

Tatar kept saying it while scoring only one goal in the season's first nine games.

But a goal Friday against Los Angeles led to another one Sunday, in the 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo, and suddenly Tatar has two goals in two games and the look of an offensive player who can get on a roll.

Which would suit the Red Wings well.

"It's just the way it is," Tatar said. "I had chances before, but something was always in my way. Now I'm getting the good bounces, even if the shot is from the outside, further away, and it just finds the net."

Sunday's goal was something along those lines. Tatar skated patiently with the puck on the perimeter, found an open lane and fired a shot past Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth.

Tatar is hoping this offensive streak can be sustained over time.

"I know it shouldn't happen (like that), you should always keep the consistency and score goals every night, but it's just the way it is," Tatar said. "You need those bounces to feel good about yourself."

Consistency is what coach Mike Babcock wants to see from Tatar, as well.

"He's like all kids, he just has to be keep getting better and better," Babcock said.

Magic man

Pavel Datsyuk has a point in each of the six games he's played since returning from a shoulder separation and has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in those games.

He had a goal and assist Sunday, and also drew a penalty in overtime, and had several other quality scoring chances throughout the game.

Who needs the exhibition season?

"He's Pavel," said linemate Henrik Zetterberg. "He's playing real well and it's fun to play with him.

"He created a lot of chances for a lot of people. And when he has his chance to score, he scores. That's what special about him."

Datsyuk had four shots on net and won 18 of 25 faceoffs (72 percent), playing one of his best all-around games of the young season.

"We had lots of opportunities to score, Pavel had about four in the first period," Babcock said. "He was magic. "

Rare victory

This was the Sabres' first home victory since defeating New Jersey April 4 in a shootout. The victory also broke a franchise record eight-game losing streak to the Red Wings.

"They took it to us a little bit in the beginning of the third period but we fought back," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "We bent a little bit but we didn't break and came from behind to get a victory.

"You do it one piece at a time, one player at a time, and we're slowly building it."

Ice chips

With Johan Franzen back in the lineup, Andrej Nestrasil was a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

The quick pace appeared to affect Franzen, who hadn't played since Oct. 17. Franzen played 16 minutes 19 seconds, had four shots, with one blocked shot.

Brian Lashoff played his first game of the season, replacing Kyle Quincey (day-to-day, ankle). Daniel Cleary was the other healthy scratch.

... Kings forward Jordan Nolan was suspended for two games for boarding Red Wings forward Darren Helm during the Kings' 5-2 loss on Friday night. Nolan received a minor penalty for the play at 3:53 of the third period.