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‘Perfect timing’ — Tatar’s first career hat trick leads Red Wings over Ducks

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DETROIT (AP) Tomas Tatar broke out of a scoring slump.

The Detroit Red Wings did, too.

Tatar got his first career hat trick, helping Detroit beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-4 on Saturday night to get a desperately needed win with a breakout offensive performance.

“It’s perfect timing,” he said.

Tatar got his third goal early in the third period, putting the puck on both sides of his stick before flipping it over John Gibson.

Detroit scored more goals (four) in the first two periods than it totaled over its previous four games – all home losses – and finished with a season scoring high.

“We knew we weren’t good enough the last four games,” Tatar said.

Detroit has needed Tatar to play better, too.

The Czech winger almost matched the number of goals (four) he scored in his first 31 games of the season. Tatar, who made his NHL debut during the 2010-11 season, scored a career-high 29 goals two years ago and had 21 goals last season.

Xavier Ouellet scored his first of the season and third of his career with 2:08 left in the second period to put the Red Wings ahead 4-3, their first lead in five games.

Petr Mrazek helped Detroit keep the lead, finishing with 21 saves.

Anaheim’s Jonathan Bernier stopped 17 shots through two periods before being pulled by Ducks coach Randy Carlyle.

“He wanted to turn things around and spark the team,” Bernier said.

Rakell and Shea Theodore scored in the first period, giving the Ducks a 2-0 lead that seemed safe against a team that has been struggling to score. Cam Fowler gave them another two-goal lead early in the second.

Tatar, though, pulled Detroit within a goal for the second time, and quickly the Red Wings figured out a way to score.

A little luck helped.

Tatar shot the puck and it went off the left skate of Fowler, caromed off the end boards and went off the back of Bernier’s left leg and into the net.

“It’s a tough building when you’re not used to those bounces,” Bernier said.

Detroit’s Dylan Larkin went to the front of the net and into the crease and was rewarded with a tying goal midway through the second period that stood after a video review and challenge by Carlyle.

“I thought I was in good position and had it,” Bernier said. “It trickled in.”

Rickard Rakell scored his second goal of the game less than two minutes later, pulling Anaheim within a goal.

The Red Wings restored their two-goal lead midway through the third when Frans Nielsen scored off a rebound in front of the net.

“It’s a game of confidence,” Nielsen said.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.