Cam Tucker

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Mrazek was magnificent, as Red Wings shut out the Predators

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Petr Mrazek was ready for everything the Nashville Predators threw at him Saturday night – and they had plenty to offer.

Mrazek made 42 saves, Mike Green scored in the first period and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Predators 1-0 on Saturday night.

“I thought right from the onset, I looked at Petr and thought, `That’s the Petr I know,”‘ Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “When he’s got tons of confidence, he looks big in the net. I thought he was excellent tonight right from the get-go.”

Pekka Rinne made 18 saves for Nashville, which has lost two of three.

“A lot of quality looks tonight and a lot of good chances for us,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We have to give their goalie some credit, he played well. We had a lot of looks and opportunities. I thought both of the goalies played well. Pekka played well, too.”

Mrazek is 5-0-0 in his career against Nashville. He made nine saves in the first, 16 in the second and 17 in the third to record his first shutout of the season and 10th of his career. He has been the goaltender of record in both of Detroit’s wins over the Predators this season. The first came in Detroit on Oct. 21, when several Predators could not finish the game due to a bout of food poisoning.

Late in the third, Mrazek stopped five Nashville shots in the span of 1:10. His best save of the sequence came on Roman Josi‘s slap shot from the point with Colin Wilson parked just outside of Mrazek’s crease with 2:02 remaining.

Green scored with 1:30 left in the opening period. From below the goal line to the left of the Nashville net, Henrik Zetterberg sent a pass to Green in the high slot, and he beat Rinne from there with a wrist shot high to the glove side.

Zetterberg, along with linemates Gustav Nyquist and Anthony Mantha, cycled the puck in the Nashville zone prior to Green’s goal.

“Z did a good job of just spotting it to an area,” Green said. “But it started with all three of them putting pressure on the D men and turning pucks over and it causes confusion and we get opportunities.”

Zetterberg extended his points streak to three games. He has five points over those three games.

Green’s goal came less than two minutes after Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson hit the crossbar with a backhand from 12 feet away from the Detroit net.

The Lightning didn’t ‘wilt’ against the Ducks

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The Bolts didn’t make it easy on themselves Saturday.

Sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, a shocking position for this club to find itself in after back-to-back lengthy playoff runs, the Lightning had a lead on the Anaheim Ducks only to give it up before finally prevailing for a 3-2 shootout victory.

Brian Boyle scored the winning goal in the four-round shootout.

Following a loss to the Senators earlier this week, Lightning coach Jon Cooper spoke at length about the state his players might be in, calling their struggles “uncharted territory” and that when a team so accustomed to success now struggles to win games, it can be a test.

Needing wins to remain in the 2017 playoff picture, Tampa Bay held a distinct edge in play versus the Ducks, and that includes after giving up the tying goal from Ryan Getzlaf in the third period.

It’s a win. It’s something perhaps the Lightning can build off, if they are to climb the standings and back into the playoff race.

“What I didn’t like is the fact we gave up the lead,” said Cooper, per the Tampa Bay Times.

“But the big thing for us, maybe in recent games we may have wilted then. But we kept creating chances. We went into overtime and I don’t think we gave up a shot (the Lightning didn’t). That was the difference tonight. Even when adversity struck, they said, ‘Okay, enough.'”

Crosby and the Penguins set Blues back with another loss

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After winning their first game in the aftermath of Ken Hitchcock losing his job and Mike Yeo taking over as head coach, the St. Louis Blues took a step back Saturday.

Facing the Pittsburgh Penguins is a challenge for the best teams in the league. The Blues, looking to build off Thursday’s impressive win over Toronto, had a brutal first period — they were outshot 12-4 — and the team with Sidney Crosby as its star was happy to exploit that.

In the end, St. Louis lost 4-1, remaining two points out of a wild card spot.

Crosby opened the scoring with a beautiful goal, lifting a backhander top corner while down on one knee, for career point No. 995.

Crosby finished the night with three points. He’s up to 30 goals on the season and 997 points for his career. It’s certainly possible he reaches 1,000 career points when the Penguins host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

The Penguins were without Carl Hagelin for most of the game after taking a high hit. Coach Mike Sullivan said Hagelin suffered an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated.

Back to the Blues for now.

While Jake Allen has endured his struggles of late, it’s hard to fault this loss on him. He stopped 27 of 30 shots, but the Blues were only able to test Marc-Andre Fleury with 23 shots at the other end.

“For whatever reason, we weren’t aggressive enough,” said Yeo.

The bad news didn’t end there. St. Louis forward Robby Fabbri was hurt in the first period after getting hit along the boards.

He didn’t return to the game after suffering a lower-body injury, and Yeo didn’t have an update on Fabbri after the game.

Retro Night: Maple Leafs win a thriller in Boston

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That was all kinds of crazy, at times, between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, like a throwback to an era long gone by in hockey.

The two teams traded goals, and plenty of them. They traded big hits. They traded punches, with Matt Martin and Adam McQuaid meeting in a heavyweight bout. Martin left the game briefly, after he was knocked to the ice on a devastating punch at the end of the fight, but he did return in the third period.

By the time this chaos was all over, the Maple Leafs had survived the threat of yet another third-period collapse by defeating the Bruins 6-5 on Saturday.

That’s a big win for Toronto. They all are at this time of the season. For a young and talented team in the thick of the playoff battle, it ends a three-game losing streak. It also moves them one point behind Boston for third in the Atlantic Division and two points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card spot in the East.

It looked, at least midway through the second period, like the Maple Leafs would win this in a rout. William Nylander recorded the hat trick, which included this terrific goal for his first of the night, and they chased Tuukka Rask from the Bruins net with four goals on 14 shots.

The Bruins, though, didn’t go away.

They tied the game at 4-4 early in the third, conceded another Toronto goal and then came back to even the score once again, before James van Riemsdyk finally scored the deciding goal for the Maple Leafs with 1:36 remaining. The late goal denies Boston at least an important single point.

The Maple Leafs are on the road versus the New York Islanders on Monday. The Bruins now have four days off before they host San Jose on Thursday.

Blues’ Fabbri leaves game with lower-body injury

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Bad news for the St. Louis Blues.

Forward Robby Fabbri left Saturday’s game early in the first period and hasn’t returned after suffering a lower-body injury on a hit from Pittsburgh Penguins forward Carter Rowney.

The hit occurred right along the boards at the bench, and Fabbri needed assistance going down the tunnel to the dressing room.

The 21-year-old Fabbri hasn’t returned to the game.

In 50 games this season, Fabbri has 11 goals and 29 points. The Blues had fallen behind the Penguins by a score of 3-0 in the second period.