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Erat's three points, Bonk's winner lead Predators to 3-2 win over Red Wings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Martin Erat and the Nashville Predators have learned a thing or two from Detroit.

Erat scored one goal and assisted on two others, including Radek Bonk's game-winner in the third period, to lead Nashville past the Red Wings 3-2 on Thursday night. "The key to beating Detroit is having the right mentality," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "They are so skilled. They move the puck so effectively and efficiently from the back and through the neutral zone.

"If you just want to play a very safe game and watch them throw the puck around, then I think your team is going to have a long night. If you participate and play hard against them you will have more success against them. It is not the total key, but it does help to use their approach against them," he added.

Jason Arnott also scored for the Predators, who beat their Central Division rivals despite taking six penalties in the first period. Erat has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his last five games.

Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg had goals for the first-place Red Wings.

There were 21 penalties in the game, with Nashville committing 11.

"We have had too many penalty-kill opportunities the last couple of games and we have killed certain guys on our team," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "There was a lot of specialty teams play. I don't think that was to our advantage. We have played the same guys over and over the past couple of games. When you do that you don't have the kind of spark that you need."

Bonk made it 3-2 with a power-play goal at 2:22 of the third period. He shot from about 5 feet outside the crease, bouncing the puck off the crossbar and into the net. Bonk leads Nashville with nine goals this season.

"Sometimes they go in for you and sometimes they don't," Bonk said. "They are going in for me right now.

"The power play has been struggling for us. We were able to set up for the goal. It is hard to beat goalies today with perfect plays and shots from far away. You have to tip shots in, get rebounds and make shots from close in."

The Red Wings took the lead on a power play at 2:49 of the first when Franzen backhanded the puck over the right shoulder of goalie Chris Mason, who finished with 28 saves.

The Predators tied it at 12:20. J.P. Dumont, stationed behind the right side of the net, passed to Arnott as he was skating across the crease. Arnott beat Dominik Hasek from close range with a high shot.

"We have been talking lately about how many shots we have missed the net on and how many shots we have hit the net with," Arnott said. "We have tried to focus the last few days on getting pucks on the net, hitting the net and having the opportunity to get rebounds. We have to keep harping on that and do it every game all season long."

Detroit took advantage of a power play again at 18:36 of the second period. Zetterberg skated through the slot and fired a shot that went into the left side of the net, beating Mason to his stick side.

Just 32 seconds later, the Predators tied it 2-all. Shea Weber ripped a shot from inside the blue line and Hasek made the stop, but Erat controlled the rebound and put it over Hasek, who was face-down on the ice.

Hasek is winless in his past three starts. He made 26 saves.

"I got into the game and felt good," Hasek said. "I felt like I at least made a few saves. The last few games I didn't feel like I made any saves. I still lost this game, which is a bad thing."

Notes: The Red Wings hosted St. Louis on Wednesday night before coming to Nashville, marking the eighth time in nine homes games that the Predators faced an opponent that played the night before. ... Weber has assists in each of his last three games. ... It was the 40th time in franchise history that Detroit played on Thanksgiving.


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