Red Wings-Blue Jackets Preview
The Columbus Blue Jackets hoped to face the Detroit Red Wings with a slight advantage in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
A scary moment in Dallas prevented that from happening.
One day after their meeting with the Stars was postponed due to a medical emergency, the Blue Jackets will try to regroup before hosting the Detroit Red Wings in a key Eastern Conference matchup Tuesday night.
Columbus (33-26-5) and Detroit (29-22-13) are tied for the second wild-card spot in the East with 71 points apiece and one month left in the regular season.
The Blue Jackets had an opportunity to break that deadlock Monday in Dallas, holding a 1-0 lead 6:23 left into the first period. But that game was postponed after the Stars’ Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench. Peverley was treated for a cardiac event and was conscious while being rushed to a hospital.
The Stars told the Blue Jackets that they weren’t up for finishing the game, and it’s uncertain when it will be replayed or continued.
"They’re shaken and they want to reschedule. We understand that," John Davidson, the Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, told Fox Sports Ohio. "They were shaken to the core."
Now, Columbus will try to turn its focus to the Red Wings, who have lost three of four and are stressing the importance of this game.
"It says it right there," goaltender Jimmy Howard told the team’s official website, pointing at the standings board inside the Wings’ locker room. "We both have 71 points. All you have to do is look at the board and you see the significance of the game."
The importance of the game only increased after Detroit fell 3-0 on the road to the New York Rangers on Sunday.
"Biggest game, really, if I think about it right now after losing that one to the Rangers," defenseman Brendan Smith said. "We need to take this one, especially if there’s a four-point swing."
Two days after they scored a season-high seven goals in a win over New Jersey, the Red Wings were shut out for the eighth time.
Sunday’s loss marked Daniel Alfredsson’s fourth straight game without a point, his longest drought of the season. He has only two assists over the past six games and failed to even register a shot against the Rangers.
Alfredsson, though, has two goals in his last three meetings with the Blue Jackets, opening the scoring in a 2-1 home win Oct. 15.
The Red Wings have lost three of four at Nationwide Arena, including a 3-0 defeat in the most recent there March 9, 2013.
"They’re a good defensive team," Smith said. "They’re a good team and they work hard. They’re on a little bit of a roll so we’re going to have to have our stuff together and go out and play a simple game."
Columbus has won four of five overall and scored 19 goals during a four-game home win streak.
Artem Anisimov has been very productive lately, totaling six goals – including four game-winners – and an assist over his last six games. He scored twice in a 4-2 victory in his last home games versus Detroit on Feb. 2, 2013.
Sergei Bobrovsky is 3-1-0 with a 1.48 goals-against average in his last four starts against Detroit, but it’s unclear if he’ll get the nod after backup Curtis McElhinney’s scheduled start Monday was cut short with four saves.