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Jackets Try To Double Up On The Wings Tonight at Joe Louis Arena

Wednesday, 12.20.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
xxColumbusBlueJackets.com

Detroit, MI - (AP) Sergei Fedorov tries to lead the Blue Jackets to a home-and-home sweep of the Red Wings and give the franchise back-to-back wins over their Central Division rivals for the first time.

Columbus (12-17-3) had won only one of seven matchups against Detroit (19-9-4) since acquiring Fedorov from Anaheim last November. The veteran center failed to score in any of those games - he didn't have a point in the past six - while posting a minus-6 rating.

Fedorov ended that drought in impressive fashion Monday with two goals and an assist to lead the Blue Jackets to a 4-3 victory.

"I think it's special for him, but I think he's been unbelievable every game," said Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash, who had a goal and an assist for the second straight game.

A nine-time 30-goal scorer during his 13 seasons with the Red Wings, Fedorov has seven goals and eight assists with a plus-8 rating in 15 games since Ken Hitchcock took over as Blue Jackets coach. The team has gone 7-4-1 in that span.

Before Hitchcock's arrival, Columbus was 5-13-2 and Fedorov was a minus-5 with only seven points.

Fedorov has been particularly hot recently, with five goals and five assists over his past six outings. The Blue Jackets are 5-1-0 this season when he has two points or more.

Even with Monday's victory, Columbus has won only six times in 31 all-time games in this series, and the club has never won consecutive meetings with the Red Wings.

That could change Wednesday as Fedorov makes his latest return to Detroit, where Columbus lost 4-1 on Nov. 4 in its only visit this season.

The Blue Jackets would be helped by another fast start. They led 3-0 after the first period on Monday.

"It was huge to get that first goal and grab the momentum of the game," Nash said. "It was definitely a big factor."

David Vyborny tied a season high with three assists Monday and he tops the Blue Jackets with 30 points, including 12 during his current six-game point streak.

Red Wings center Robert Lang has a four-game point streak, having scored twice on Monday.

His first goal of the game also was Detroit's first, but it didn't come until 6:03 remained in the second period. The Red Wings outshot the Blue Jackets 29-14 over the final two periods as their comeback attempt fell short.

"It's a 60-minute game, and you have to be prepared to start," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "When we needed the opportunity to get back in the game, at that point we needed just one more play, just one more save, and we didn't get it."

It was the second loss in seven games for the Red Wings, who are 12-2-1 all-time at home against the Blue Jackets. Two of those losses, however, have come in the past six meetings at Joe Louis Arena.

Monday's game saw Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek get pulled for the first time all season. He was replaced at the start of the second period by Chris Osgood, who made his first appearance since fracturing his wrist in a win over Chicago on Nov. 2.

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