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Tatar to rescue as Wings overtake Preds

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Nashville, Tenn. — The Red Wings ended this particular road trip the way they've pretty much played the entire way through —resiliently and with a victory.

They rallied in the third period for the third time in five games in this trip, rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Predators.

Alexey Marchenko and Tomas Tatar scored third-period goals, erasing a 3-2 Nashville lead Saturday, and earning the Red Wings their third victory in five games on this finally completed road trip (3-1-1).

"It was a good trip for us," said Tatar, whose game-winner was his team-high 25th goal. "We proved we can play with the best teams in the league. We were strong the whole trip. We're real happy with how it went for us."

The game capped a two-month stretch which saw the Red Wings have 19 of 26 games on the road. They went 17-7-2 during that time.

"We have a good team," coach Mike Babcock said. "We have good guys and we play hard and with structure. We seem to compete and when you compete you give yourself a chance every night."

Marchenko tied the game 3-3 with his first NHL goal at 3:56 of the third period, whistling a shot over goalie Pekka Rinne's shoulder just under the crossbar.

Tatar pushed it to 4-3 on the power play. Tatar intended to center a pass to Pavel Datsyuk but the puck bounced off defenseman Roman Josi's body at 9:06.

"I tried to look for Pavel for an empty net on the left side and when I passed it, the puck went off a skate or stick and bumped into the net," Tatar said.

The Red Wings killed two Nashville power plays in the final six minutes to preserve the victory.

Brendan Smith and Drew Miller added goals for the Red Wings (35-15-11, 81 points) while goaltender Jonas Gustavsson stopped 37 shots including those power plays in the end (Nashville pulled its goalie to have a two-man advantage during its second power play).

"That's the fun part of being a goalie, when you're up one goal and you have some pressure in the end there and you have four, five, maybe six guys out there battling," Gustavsson said. "It's a lot of fun being in that situation. I felt good."

The only potential negative for the Red Wings in this game?

Darren Helm left in the first period with what the team called an upper-body injury. Helm was hit hard along the boards twice in the period, once each by Seth Jones and Shea Weber.

Coach Mike Babcock said Helm will be re-evaluated back in Detroit.

Matt Cullen, Mike Fisher and Weber (power play) scored for the Predators (41-15-7, 89 points).

The Red Wings took a 2-0 lead when Miller scored his fourth goal, bouncing one off Rinne at 2:03.

But the Predators charged back with three second period goals.

Cullen scored his sixth, winning a faceoff then going to the net and backhanding a rebound past Gustavsson just 30 seconds after Miller scored.

Fisher tied it 2-2 at 6:02. A shot off the end boards went straight to Fisher in the slot, and Fisher one-timed it for his 15th goal.

Weber capped the second-period rally with a power-play goal at 16:08, his 15th, a slap shot from the top of the slot on a four-on-three Predators' advantage.

"They scored four goals," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "We played good, but we stopped playing in the third period. It wasn't a lot of easy ice and we just came out on the short side."

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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