Alexander Radulov is accustomed to scoring goals. Francis Bouillon is not.
Both found the back of the net Friday in the Nashville Predators’ 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Detroit.
It was Nashville’s first victory at Joe Louis Arena since March 19, 2011 and resulted in a split of the season series between the Central Division rivals.
Most importantly it moved the Predators ahead of the Red Wings and into fourth place in the Western Conference standings with four games to play in the regular season. Nashville has 98 points, one more than Detroit, and its 45 victories are one more than last season.
Radulov gave Nashville a 3-0 lead when he scored 2:40 into the third period. It was the second goal and fifth point in five games for the high-scoring forward who returned to the team earlier this month after four seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
He also had an assist on Bouillon’s goal, which made it 2-0 with 33 seconds to play in the second period. It was the third goal in 10 games for Bouillon, who had gone 87 straight without one until he started his current surge March 12 at Phoenix. Only once in his career has he scored more than three times in a season.
Shea Weber capped the scoring with an empty-net goal it was his 17th of the season, which matched the second-highest total of his career. Gabriel Bouque got Nashville on the board at 13:05 of the second period.
Goalie Pekka Rinne made 31 saves and notched his league-leading 42nd win of the season. He entered the contest tied with Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury at 41 wins apiece.
Rinne also had an assist on Radulov’s goal. It was his fifth point of the season – all assists – that made him the highest-scoring goalie in the league.
Nashville hosts the Chicago Blackhawks, sixth in the Western Conference, 7 p.m. Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.