Jackets go for sweep of injury-plagued Wings
BLUE JACKETS (21-20-3) at RED WINGS (27-11-6)
TV: FS-O (HD), FS-D (HD)
Columbus 4-6-0; Detroit 6-2-2
Fourth of six meetings this season between these Central Division rivals. It's also the conclusion of their second home-and-home series. Detroit swept the first one by scores of 2-1 and 4-2 -- now Columbus will be looking to complete its measure of revenge after prevailing 3-2 in a shootout at Nationwide Arena on Friday night.
It wasn't long ago Joey MacDonald was biding his time in the AHL -- suddenly, he's in line to possibly start a string of games for the Red Wings after Jimmy Howard left Friday's game with a bruised knee. It's unknown exactly how long he'll be out, and veteran backup Chris Osgood recently went on the shelf with a sports hernia. Adding to the Wings' injury woes, Tomas Holmstrom broke his hand Friday and will be miss the next month.
"That's just the way it goes sometimes," coach Mike Babcock said. "You get injuries and you just have to fight through them."
Might this have been the win that sends Columbus on the second-half surge it needs to secure a second playoff berth in three seasons? The Blue Jackets still sit at the bottom of the Central Division, but they're only six points behind the third-place Blackhawks, who also hold down the eight seed in the Western Conference. Jakub Voracek
and Grant Clitsome
staked the Jackets to a 2-0 lead after one period Friday. After the Red Wings rallied, Antoine Vermette
struck in the fourth round of the penalty-shot tiebreaker to secure the second point.
"We wanted to stop the bleeding," Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. "We had lost a number of games and had to find a way to get back into the win column. That game there wasn't for the faint of heart. As coaches, players and fans it was a fun one to be a part of, right to the very end. I liked our effort. I liked a lot of the things we did out there."
Despite not picking up the win, Detroit deserved credit for recovering after a disastrous opening 20 minutes in which it gave up the first two goals and saw Howard leave the game shortly after Clitsome's power-play tally. Howard blocked a Derick Brassard
shot and then fell to the ice with his legs folded underneath him. MacDonald proceeded to stop all 21 shots he faced through regulation and overtime, and second-period goals by Drew Miller and Jiri Hudler brought the Red Wings back.
"I thought Joey did a good job," Babcock said. "Obviously we were down; he did a good job. I thought we pressed them real hard in the third period and weren't able to get it done in overtime, but we should have had our opportunities and that's life."
Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash
(2-2-4) and defenseman Fedor Tyutin
(1-3-4) have three-game points streaks. … Henrik Zetterberg had an 11-game points streak snapped Friday, during which he recorded 6 goals and 10 assists for the Red Wings.
Columbus defenseman Anton Stralman
missed Friday's game due to illness, while forward Ethan Moreau
(ribs) is on injured reserve. … Howard and Holmstrom are the latest casualties for Detroit, which already was missing Osgood, defenseman Brad Stuart (jaw) and forwards Danny Cleary (ankle), Pavel Datsyuk (hand/wrist) and Mike Modano (wrist).
Seven of the last eight meetings between these teams have been decided by a single goal, but the Blue Jackets remain just 16-35-9 against the Red Wings in the all-time series.
While Detroit figures out its goaltending situation, Columbus had to be happy getting a strong, 26-save effort out of Steve Mason
"Going into the third period I knew I had to shut the door," he said. "Obviously, to give up two in the second period was tough for the team, considering the first period we had. I think the guys in the locker room were pretty disappointed the way we came out in the second. We have been giving up short handed goals and we can't be doing that.
"Coming into the third period, the guys got back to playing like we did in the first and we put the pressure on them and got the win in the shootout, which was nice. It's a big two points for us."