Tomas Tatar slipped his glove off, kissed his index finger, and pointed towards the roof of the Staples Center after slotting in what turned out to be the game-winning goal late in the 3rd period against the Los Angeles Kings. The gesture wasn’t another one of Tatar’s flamboyant celebrations but a touching memorial to his father.
“That game and that goal was for him,” Tatar said following 3-1 victory. “I felt he was the last soul of the game. Right now it’s really hard to talk about. It’s a big loss for me, obviously. I just wanted to work as hard as I could for my dad.”
Tatar’s father, Jan, passed away on Friday in Slovakia after a long battle with liver disease.
Mike Babcock summed up the heartfelt moment nicely, “The way you honor your father and your mother is by continuing to do what you should do, playing hard and doing things well. He’s going to have a different relationship with his dad, obviously, now.”
In the first period, Tatar also helped the Wings get on the scoreboard. Deking his way through the defense he was able to maneuver his way to the front of the net and creating a rebound scoring chance for Riley Sheahan. In his 7th NHL game (5th this season), Sheahan acrobatically put home the rebound for his first career NHL goal.
Tomas Tatar had a night to remember and his point to the heavens should go down as one of the most emotional moments in the NHL this season. It also comes at a time in which the Red Wings could desperately use the help of the Hockey Gods.
The Wings entered Saturday’s night game against the Kings as the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference with 48 points. There were 5 teams (Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, and Columbus Blue Jackets) all within 4 points of the last playoff spot in the East.
The 2 points accumulated for the win helped the Wings jump over the New York Rangers who occupied the first wildcard spot. They get to see these Rangers for a game on Thursday, a game that Tomas Tatar will miss so he can attend his father’s funeral.
Tatar will play against Anaheim Ducks today before flying home to Slovakia.
Tatar’s captivating gesture could very well be the turning point in what has been a roller coaster season for the Detroit Red Wings.
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