Tatar's goal lifts Wings after they squander lead

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
The Detroit Red Wings' Tomas Tatar scores the winning goal against Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom during the third period.

Vancouver, British Columbia — Tomas Tatar hadn't scored a point in seven games but he picked a good time to stop his slump.

Tatar scored at 18:46 of the third period Monday, breaking a tie and giving the Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Tatar's fourth goal of the season — and 200th career point — gave the Red Wings (8-7-1) their second consecutive victory and fourth in five games.

Tatar’s goal appeared to deflect off a Vancouver stick and over goalie Jacob Markstrom.

“It was for sure (deflected),” Tatar said. “I hit the guy’s stick when I saw it on the replay. Those kind of goals are going in right now, you just need a fortunate bounce sometimes. I’m glad it happened.”

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 3, Canucks 2

So are the Red Wings, who saw a 2-0 lead disappear quickly in the third period but recovered to take control of the game and ultimately win it on Tatar’s heroics.

“We had two or three shifts right away after (Vancouver scored), we played in their end, and that’s good for momentum,” Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We felt OK even though they scored. We knew we’d get enough chances to score the third one.”

Vancouver (7-5-2) scored twice in 2:14 early in the third period, tying the score at 2.

Daniel Sedin scored at 7:16, sliding a loose puck under Jimmy Howard, cutting the Red Wings lead to 2-1, then Michael Del Zotto tied it with the teams skating 4-on-4 with a shot in the slot at 9:30.

But then the Red Wings regained their balance.

“We were great after 2-2 to be honest with you,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That was some of our better hockey. We gave up two goals but we played real well.”

Darren Helm and Martin Frk (power play) had Red  Wings goals.

Frk made it 2-0 with his fifth goal at 15:15 of the second period — even though he really didn’t score.

Frk lined a hard shot from the top of the slot but Markstrom made the stop, only to see Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev slide the puck into his own net. Frk got the credit for the goal, being the last Red Wing to touch the puck.

Helm opened the scoring with his third goal at 4:02 of the first period off a scramble.

Getting the consecutive wins on a back-to-back in Edmonton and Vancouver, and only allowing two goals in the process, was a positive note for the Red Wings.

“As a group, the whole team has bought into the way we want to play and that’s one of the most important things,” Blashill said. “On the ice you have five guys headed in the same direction. That’s a big thing. It’s not just coming from the coach, it’s coming from the players and they’re all buying in.”

Howard (26 saves) preserved the lead through two periods with some big saves, as Vancouver enjoyed some glorious chances, only to be denied.

“Jimmy was real good,” Blashill said. “I’ve said it from the beginning of the year, you need elite goaltending to win in this league. Teams that are in the mix have that elite goaltending, and we have two guys who’ve given us that so far this year (Petr Mrazek, along with Howard).”