DETROIT — Viktor Arvidsson scored a hat trick on his 28th birthday, and the Nashville Predators defeated the Detroit Red Wings 7-1 at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday.
Arvidsson, who missed Nashville’s 3-2 shootout win against Detroit on Tuesday with an upper-body injury, finished his third NHL hat trick with his first NHL penalty-shot goal.
“That’s pretty good for a birthday,” Arvidsson said.
Juuse Saros made 25 saves for the Predators (22-18-1), who have won nine of their past 10 games.
“We’re a pretty confident group, and we are on a mission,” Predators forward Erik Haula said. “We know we have a good team, but we’ve got 15 games to go, and we have to keep the pedal down.”
Nashville finished the season series against Detroit 6-2-0, including another 7-1 win at home on March 25.
“We’ve had a few games lately where we haven’t responded well to falling behind, and that results in games like this,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “This was a major step backward.”
Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves for the Red Wings (13-23-6) in his first game since sustaining a lower-body injury March 18.
“We hung [Bernier] out to dry tonight, and that’s on every one of us,” Red Wings forward Luke Glendening said. “Here’s a guy who has been great for us all season and is coming back from an injury, and we didn’t do anything to help him.”
Detroit took a 1-0 lead at 1:48 of the second period when Troy Stecher‘s shot from the right point went in off Darren Helm‘s leg.
Arvidsson tied it 1-1 40 seconds later at 2:28. Bernier made the initial save on him, but the rebound bounced in off the skate of Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill.
The Predators took a 2-1 lead at 6:36 when Haula backhanded Rocco Grimaldi‘s pass over Bernier’s shoulder.
Nick Cousins gave Nashville a 3-1 lead at 16:10 by knocking in a Colton Sissons pass. The assist was Sissons’ 100th NHL point (52 goals, 48 assists).
Mikael Granlund made it 4-1 at 7:05 of the third period, scoring for a fifth straight game against the Red Wings, and Arvidsson increased the lead to 5-1 at 10:00.
After Arvidsson was hooked by Danny DeKeyser on a breakaway at 11:06, he deked Bernier on the penalty shot before scoring with a backhand.
“He expects to score goals,” Predators coach John Hynes said of Arvidsson, “and hopefully tonight will be a springboard to more success.”
Yakov Trenin made it 7-1 on a backhand in the slot at 15:55.
“I was really disappointed with the way we came out for the third period,” Blashill said. “It was only 3-1 and we still had a chance to get back into the game, but we came out and played a stupid period of hockey.”
NOTES: Arvidsson became the first Predators player to finish a hat trick with a penalty shot. … Nashville defenseman David Farrance played 13:46 in his NHL debut. He was plus-1 with a shot on goal, a hit and a blocked shot.