Red Wings 2, Blue Jackets 1
In a chance-for-chance, toe-to-toe type of game, Detroit’s
goalie and penalty-killing simply wouldn’t wilt.
Jimmy Howard stopped Jared Boll on a penalty shot and finished
with 34 saves to help the Red Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets
2-1 on Friday night in a fight for the Western Conference lead
before a rare capacity crowd of 18,391 at Nationwide Arena.
Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula scored for Detroit, coming
off their worst defeat of the season, a 5-1 loss at Atlanta on
Wednesday night. The Red Wings killed all five Columbus power plays
en route to their ninth victory in their last 12 games.
”Obviously your best penalty killer is your goaltender, but I
thought our guys battled hard,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
”As the game went on, I thought our penalty kill got stronger and
stronger and we didn’t have to rely on Howard quite as much.”
Antoine Vermette scored midway through the third to spoil
Howard’s shutout bid.
”Both goaltenders were outstanding,” Columbus coach Scott
Arniel said. ”We had some great looks and Howard either got across
or made a big save. (Detroit) scored the game-winner on a power
play and we didn’t score on our (power play).”
Steve Mason was nearly as good as Howard, making 30 saves for
Columbus, which entered with 14 wins, most in the conference.
The Blue Jackets’ Jakub Voracek missed a chance to tie it in the
waning moments, but Brad Stuart barely beat him to a loose puck in
the crease with Howard out of position, for maybe the only time in
”It was a great battle between the goalies and between the
teams,” said Howard, 6-0-1 against the Blue Jackets. ”There were
a lot of chances at both ends.”
The Blue Jackets, wearing their recently unveiled capital blue
with antique white trim, cannon-crested third jersey, had their
winning streak snapped at five – one short of tying the franchise
While the Blue Jackets weren’t opportunistic with their chances,
the Red Wings didn’t have to think twice.
An indecisive play with the puck by Columbus defenseman Jan
Hejda, who easily could have either shot the puck or dump it deep
at the Detroit blue line, instead had it stolen by Todd Bertuzzi,
who went the other way on a 3-on-1 break.
Bertuzzi cut in along the right side and threaded a perfect
cross-ice pass to Franzen, who buried a wrister past Mason for his
10th at 7:04 of the second.
Three minutes later Howard kept the lead intact, coolly standing
pat to swallow Boll’s penalty shot.
”(Boll) lowered his head and was looking blocker,” Howard
said. ”The ice at that point, halfway through the second period
wasn’t all that great. I had to figure he was going to come in and
Filppula converted on a power play with his fifth at 8:06 of the
third to give the Red Wings a two-goal cushion. Detroit finished 1
for 3 with the extra man.
Just 59 seconds later, the Blue Jackets’ R.J. Umberger stole the
puck from Henrik Zetterberg behind the Red Wings’ goal, then slid a
backhand centering pass to Boll. Howard made the initial stop but
the rebound fell to Vermette who shoveled it home for his fifth.
The assist for Umberger extended his franchise-best assists streak
to eight games.
The opening period was scoreless, but was filled with near
misses and spectacular saves by both goalies as Columbus outshot
”We had great looks early in the game and if we could have
buried one, maybe it would get them back on their heels a little
bit,” Arniel said.
NOTES: Red Wings C Mike Modano left late in the second because
of an upper-body injury and did not return. … The game was the
first of a home-and-home set that wraps up Monday. … Columbus
heads to Detroit with a league-best 8-1-0 road record. … Detroit
had allowed at least four goals in its past three games.