Red Wings-Blue Jackets Preview

Rick Nash was still a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets after
the NHL trade deadline, but it’s likely his tenure with the team
will end following this season.

The Blue Jackets revealed their captain requested a trade last
month, and that could make for an interesting reception Tuesday
night when Columbus tries to prevent the banged-up Detroit Red
Wings from retaking sole possession of the Central Division
lead.

Nash was expected to be dealt from the league-worst Blue Jackets
(18-37-7) before Monday’s deadline, which passed with the five-time
All-Star still on the roster. Columbus’ only transaction during the
day was acquiring two fourth-round draft picks and a minor leaguer
from Vancouver for forward Samuel Pahlsson.

“The price (to trade Nash) was high,” general manager Scott
Howson said. “And I don’t apologize for that.”

Howson, though, also said at a press conference Monday that his
leading scorer came to him in January and asked to be dealt to
another team.

“He obviously wants a change,” Howson said. “Obviously, we’re
going to look at all of our options as we move forward. We’ll see
what happens once we get around the draft in the summer.”

While Howson bides his time, Nash will try to lead the Blue
Jackets to their second consecutive home win over Detroit
(41-19-3). Columbus defeated the Red Wings 4-1 on Oct. 25 but
dropped the two matchups at Joe Louis Arena.

This time, the Blue Jackets will face a Red Wings team that’s
0-2-1 since winning six straight, its longest skid since a
season-high six consecutive defeats Oct. 22-Nov. 3. Detroit has
also dropped three straight on the road and is 15-16-1 there this
season – compared with a 26-3-2 record at home.

The Red Wings must try to turn things around without their
captain. The 41-year-old Nicklas Lidstrom has been ruled out for
Tuesday’s game and is day to day after injuring one of his ankles
in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Colorado.

Leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk will miss his fourth straight game
while recovering from knee surgery, and defenseman Jonathan
Ericsson is out a month after he broke his wrist against the
Avalanche.

The Red Wings dropped their second straight at home Saturday
after winning an NHL-record 23 straight there. After giving up the
game’s first three goals, they attempted to rally in the third
period but couldn’t get the equalizer following Valtteri Filppula’s
score with 5:07 remaining.

Jiri Hudler had the other two goals and an assist, and Henrik
Zetterberg assisted on all three goals. However, they couldn’t help
the Red Wings earn at least one valuable point.

St. Louis took advantage to tie Detroit atop the Central with a
3-1 win in Calgary on Monday, but the Blues are idle until
Wednesday.

“It’s unacceptable to play like that, to be as poor as we were,”
coach Mike Babcock said. “We had a rally in the third period, but
for two games – and probably for three – we haven’t had much
energy.”

Filppula will try to help change that. He has a team-best five
points against Columbus this season and 11 in his last nine
matchups (five goals, six assists).

Jimmy Howard might also get the chance to continue his success
against the Blue Jackets. The All-Star netminder is 9-1-1 with a
1.68 goals-against average lifetime against Columbus and has won
both matchups this season.

Howard’s nine wins are tied for his most against any
opponent.