Blue Jackets-Red Wings Preview
The Detroit Red Wings' team-record 15-game home win streak doesn't figure to get a major test Saturday night.
The Red Wings will be heavily favored to win their sixth straight overall when they welcome the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets to Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit (31-15-1) returns home after winning shootouts in Dallas and Phoenix by 3-2 scores. Todd Bertuzzi had the lone goal in Thursday's shootout against the Coyotes.
The Red Wings have won eight of 10 as they battle Chicago and St. Louis in a tight Central Division race.
"Chicago keeps winning and so does St. Louis," Bertuzzi said. "In order to stay in the race, you've got to win.''
That's all the Red Wings have done at home since a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Nov. 3. It's the longest home win streak in the NHL since 1976, when Philadelphia won 20 in a row to match a league mark set by Boston during the 1929-30 season.
Columbus (13-28-5) is not expected to pose much of a threat to Detroit's run. The Red Wings are 27-5-2 at home all-time against the Blue Jackets, including two playoff wins.
The Blue Jackets are the worst penalty killing team in the Western Conference at 76.8 percent, and the Red Wings are eager to improve their power play. Detroit was 0 for 9 on the road trip and has gone 3 for 41 over its last 16 games.
"We're not getting quality chances," coach Mike Babcock said. "We're not wearing anybody out. Our power play wasn't good enough tonight. It hasn't been good enough in a long time and we've got to fix that."
Bertuzzi scored his 299th career goal Thursday to give him four in his last four contests.
"It's obviously nice to get stuff like that but (I'm) just trying to score and contribute and help my line out and help this team out and we've got a way bigger goal than this," Bertuzzi said.
Detroit will be up against a Columbus defense that has seen youngsters John Moore and David Savard get more action recently. The Blue Jackets learned Thursday that defenseman Radek Martinek, signed as a free agent in the summer, will miss the remainder of the season with post-concussion symptoms.
"Obviously we'll miss him," interim coach Todd Richards said. "We miss him just being around the room. It's a hole and it's an opportunity for young guys to come up and play."
Columbus signed veteran Brett Lebda, who spent his first five seasons with Detroit from 2005-10.
The Blue Jackets have lost three of five since Richards replaced Scott Arniel on Jan. 9. The league's worst team was surprisingly the last to get shut out, losing 3-0 to Nashville on Thursday.
"Disappointed obviously at the result ... but I feel that we're doing some good things out on the ice,'' Richards said.
These clubs have split two meetings this season. Detroit's Jimmy Howard has gone 8-1-1 with a 1.65 goals-against average in 10 starts against Columbus.
Howard has started every game of the home win streak, posting a 1.39 GAA. Top scorer Pavel Datsyuk has 16 points during a nine-game run at home.