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Hudler records hat trick as Red Wings soar past Lightning

Sep 29, 2006 - 2:24 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Jiri Hudler is doing his best to make up for the Detroit Red Wings' loss of Steve Yzerman.

Hoping to finally make his mark in the NHL, Hudler recorded a natural hat trick to lead the Red Wings to a 4-1 preseason triumph over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With the retirement of Yzerman after 22 seasons, Hudler has a good chance to grab a spot on Detroit's roster this campaign. A second-round pick in 2002, the 22-year-old Czech may have cemented it with his performance Thursday.

After a scoreless first period, Hudler converted a power-play opportunity with 8:03 to go in the middle session. He beat goaltender Marc Denis again with 1:55 left in the period before completing his hat trick at 5:23 of the third, giving the Red Wings a 3-0 cushion.

Pavel Datsyuk helped set up all three tallies and defenseman Niklas Kronwall added two assists for Detroit.

Red Wings netminder Joey MacDonald had his shutout bid spoiled by Lightning captain Tim Taylor, who scored 37 seconds after Hudler's third goal. MacDonald finished with 32 saves.

Daniel Cleary provided the final margin by scoring a shorthanded empty-netter with one second remaining in the third period.

Acquired from Columbus over the summer, Denis stopped 25 shots for Tampa Bay.

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