The Detroit Red Wings leapfrogged into first place in the National Hockey League Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over the Central Division rival Nashville Predators. The Red Wings now lead Nashville by one point in the standings while retaining a game in hand.
Detroit needed a comeback to earn the win and rookie Jiri Hudler delivered, scoring twice to even the game and then put his team out in front.
With the Red Wings down 2-1 and 3:37 remaining in the second period, Robert Lang threw the puck out in front from behind the net and Kyle Calder got a whack at it. The rebound came out to Hudler, who whipped it past Nashville goalie Chris Mason to even the game.
At 5:41 of the third, Hudler would score the eventual game-winner, sneaking in behind the defense and taking a pass from Lang before roofing a shot over Mason.
Kirk Maltby added an empty-net goal to seal the win.
Alexander Radulov opened the scoring for the Predators with 1:54 remaining in the first period. Radulov stole the puck in the neutral zone and got around defender Andreas Lilja, who couldn’t get back to stop him from putting a shot past netminder Dominik Hasek‘s glove.
Nicklas Lidstrom tied the game just 1:16 into the second, blasting a shot from the top of the left circle past Mason.
Jason Arnott put Nashville back out front 8:56 later, knocking a fluttering puck past Hasek with the shaft of his stick.
Hasek finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots against. Mason stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced.
Neither team scored on the power play. The Predators had five chances with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had one.
The Red Wings will be back in action on Saturday night in Vancouver in the first game of a brief two-game Western Canada road trip that will wrap up on Tuesday in Calgary.
The Red Wings lost rookie Valtteri Filppula to an unspecified lower body injury at the end of the second period.