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Tatar, Miller get on the board vs. Blues

Six Wings have registered first goals on St. Louis this season

Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 11:23 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Tatar, Miller get on the board vs. Blues

Drew Miller scored his first goal for the Red Wings since last March, helping build a 2-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – It was another game of firsts against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Despite dropping a 4-3 shoot-out loss, Wings forwards Tomas Tatar and Drew Miller each registered their first goal of the season. For Tatar, his first-period goal was his first at the NHL level since he scored in his Wings’ debut on New Year’s Eve 2010.

“I feel way better than I did last time when I was called up two years ago,” said Tatar, who gave the Wings a 1-0 lead at 2:17 of the first period. “I’m more experienced and I’ve played way, way more games. So I felt pretty good out there. I think I skate pretty well out there. It’s just that I have to do the job that coach asks me for, and I have to do it 100 percent every game.”

Tatar has played in five games since being called up earlier in the month. He has played on the third line since being back with the NHL team, and on Wednesday, he skated with center Joakim Andersson and forward Patrick Eaves, who had been a healthy scratch lately.

Playing in his first game since Feb. 2 at Columbus, Eaves made a key contribution on Tatar’s goal. Off of Andersson’s face-off win to the right of the Blues’ crease, Eaves tied up St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, which allowed Tatar to get to the puck in the low slot.

“I beat the guy off the wall in a puck battle and got it to Tats, and he did the rest,” said Eaves, who drew an assist on the play.

From there, Tatar made a pretty backhand/forehand move before lifting the puck past Blues goalie Jake Allen, who was making his first NHL start.

Tatar and Allen have crossed paths many times in the American Hockey League. Having spent much of his playing time in Grand Rapids, Tatar has learned some of Allen’s tendencies. Allen has played most of the season for the Blues’ farm club in Peoria, where he’s posted a 2-1-0 record with one shutout against the Griffins.

But Tatar's goal Wednesday was more reactionary than anything, the rookie forward said.

“I’ve played against him a couple of years down there,” he said. “But it’s not about if I know him or not. It’s just that the puck popped out pretty well for me and I did a move and it was a pretty good fake, I guess. He just bit at it.”

The Red Wings built a 2-0 lead 5 ½ minutes later when Miller and Jordin Tootoo worked a nifty give-and-go play when he dug the puck out from behind the Blues’ net. Miller than zipped a shot past the rookie netminder.

Miller became the sixth Red Wings’ skater to score his first goal of the season against St. Louis.

After being shut-out by the Blues in the season-opener for both clubs at Scottrade Center, four other Wings have victimized Blues’ goalies this season for goal numero uno. Cory Emmerton, Daniel Cleary and Jakub Kindl potted their firsts against goalie Brian Elliott during the Wings’ 5-1 win last Thursday. Jonathan Ericsson scored his first, also against Elliott, in a 5-3 win at The Joe on Feb. 1.

Strangely, six Blues also scored their first goals of the year against the Wings. Forwards Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart, T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the opener. All but Berglund’s tally came against Jimmy Howard, before he was lifted for backup Jonas Gustavsson in the third period.

After spotting the Wings a 2-0 lead, the Blues’ defense was spectacular in front of their 22-year-old goalie. The Blues blocked more shots (24) than they allowed overall (18). Detroit had just seven shots on Allen in the final 44-plus minutes of the game.

“We kind of peppered him at first, got some goals and then didn't get a lot of shots after that,” Miller said. “You got to credit their D and forwards for helping him out and getting blocked shots for him.”

THREE STARS: 3, Pavel Datsyuk, DET (1 Goal); 2, Chris Stewart, STL (1 Goal, 1 Assist); 1, Alex Steen, STL (1 Goal).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80