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Red Wings stop Predators

Datsyuk lifts Detroit back into first-place tie

Calgary's Brad Stuart slams the Wild's Stephane Veilleux (left) into the boards in the first period in St. Paul, Minn. (ANN HEISENFELT/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Nashville Predators are trying to end Detroit's run atop the Central Division and the Western Conference.

Beating the Red Wings head-to-head would be a good start -- and the Predators haven't been able to do that in a while.

Pavel Datsyuk scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and had an assist, and the Red Wings beat host Nashville, 2-1, last night and moved back into a tie with the Predators atop the NHL.

The Red Wings, Predators, and idle Buffalo all have 105 points, but Detroit has a game in hand on Nashville with four of its final five games left against Central Division cellar dwellers Columbus and Chicago.

Nashville blew a chance to pad its lead and has four games left to win a franchise-best 50th game. Three are at home.

Detroit came into the game having already won the season series with five victories in the first seven games. The Red Wings finished off the series finale in style with their fourth straight victory against Nashville and 13 of 16 possible points.

Johan Franzen also scored for Detroit. Ducks 5, Blue Jackets 2 -- Teemu Selanne scored a goal and assisted on three third-period power-play goals, and Anaheim beat Columbus to set a franchise record for road wins with 20.

Chris Pronger had two goals and an assist for Anaheim, which is chasing its first division title since entering the league in 1993 and the President's Trophy for the most regular-season points.

The Ducks entered with a 4-point edge over Dallas in the Pacific Division. They won their 46th game and have 104 points, extending their franchise records.

Flames 4, Wild 2 -- Jarome Iginla's first hat trick of the season brought Calgary closer to clinching the final playoff spot in the Western Conference as the visiting Flames beat Minnesota.

Daymond Langkow also scored in a three-goal first period for Calgary, which stunned Minnesota and goalie Niklas Backstrom with two scores in the first 80 seconds. Backstrom saw only two shots before Wild coach Jacques Lemaire called a timeout and replaced him with Josh Harding.

But the night again belonged to Flames All-Star Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 23 saves in Calgary's fifth straight victory.

Avalanche 4, Coyotes 3 -- Milan Hejduk had a goal and an assist to help Colorado boost its fading playoff hopes with a victory over host Phoenix.

Brett McLean, Wojtek Wolski, and Brad Richardson also scored for the Avalanche, who won for the 11th time in 14 games to remain 7 points behind Calgary for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.

Canucks 4, Kings 2 -- Daniel Sedin scored two goals and visiting Vancouver stretched its lead in the Northwest Division by beating Los Angeles.

Sedin scored a power-play goal early in the second and set up a goal by Taylor Pyatt later in the period to break open a tie game.

Thrashers 3, Maple Leafs 2 -- Slava Kozlov scored two goals, including the winner on the power play with 46.4 seconds remaining in overtime, to help host Atlanta end a three-game losing streak.

Marian Hossa made it 1-0 early in the first with his 42d goal for Atlanta, which increased its lead over idle second-place Tampa Bay to 5 points in the Southeast Division.

Blues, 5, Oilers 2 -- Doug Weight had a goal and an assist and Barret Jackman added three assists, leading host St. Louis over Edmonton.