Blue Jackets 5, Red Wings 1
- Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
– For the second straight game the Red Wings dug a huge first-period hole. And for the second straight time the league-leading Wings weren’t able to dig out of it.
The depleted defensive corps certainly didn’t help either Friday night. Playing without a pair of defensive stalwarts – Niklas Kronwall
(clavicle) and Brian Rafalski
(groin) – the Blue Jackets pounced on the Wings in the offensive zone.
The Blue Jackets built a 3-0 first-period lead, en route to a 5-1 victory before a stunned sold-out Joe Louis Arena that witnessed their Red Wings fall for the fifth consecutive time.
Nashville also scored three goals in the first 20-minutes on Tuesday.
“We got skated into the ground, I thought, in the first period,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t execute throughout the entire game and weren’t very good. This is as bad as we’ve been, and tonight’s unacceptable. We have to play with a lot more energy.”
|Tomas Holmstrom (96) digs for the puck as Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire (31) and Jan Hejdsa defend. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
On Friday, the Blue Jackets pressured the Detroit net from the opening face-off, and capitalized on goals by forwards Rick Nash, Fredrik Modin and Nikolai Zherdev, who all scored during a 7 ½ minute stretch. Nash added two assists, and Zherdev had one.
“We still had some turnovers that cost us,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom
said. “We just have to find a way to get out of this slump that we’re in right now. You still have to go back to the basics and pay attention to details in your own end even if it means getting the puck out instead of looking for a play. I still think we’re guilty of looking for that play that’s not there.”
The Wings (41-14-5) were also outshot by Columbus, 23-21. It was just the sixth time this season that Detroit has been outshot, and the first time since a 3-2 loss at Ottawa on Jan. 12.
The last time the Wings lost five straight occurred between Nov. 17-25, 2006. But in that span, the Wings managed to gain three-points in an overtime loss and a pair of shootout losses.
In the current slump, Detroit has mustered one-point as a result of a 3-2 overtime loss at Toronto last Saturday.
Columbus kept the pressure up in the Detroit zone in the second period, grabbing a 4-0 lead when Modin scored his second of the game -- on a redirected effort in front of the crease that chased goalie Chris Osgood
from his second straight game. The goal occurred on a 4-on-4 situation when defenseman Adam Foote sent a slap shot from the point, which was tipped by Modin.
For the second straight game, Jimmy Howard
entered in relief of Osgood, who made eight saves on 12 shots Friday.
“We’re still leaving our goalie out to dry,” Lidstrom said. “We’re not giving them much support and helping them out in front of our own end. So, it’s not easy for our goalies when we play like this. … We have to get back to basics.”
Another concern for the Red Wings is that they haven’t scored on a 5-on-5 even-strength goal in the last three games.
“We’ve generated some offense, but haven’t generated some goals,” Lidstrom said. “We haven’t capitalized on the chances, and that’s what’s winning games for us early on. We’re not finding ways to score goals 5-on-5 and that’s hurting us too.”
The Wings began the third period on the power play. Detroit quickly moved the puck around the offensive zone before Pavel Datsyuk
fired a shot under Leclaire’s right arm. Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg
assisted on the goal at 1:25.
Howard, who was recalled from Grand Rapids on Monday, played spectacularly again. He made two incredible toe saves that kept the score at 4-1, first stoning Rostislav Klesla from the point, and then Jason Chimera on the rebound.
Columbus regained its four-goal lead when Ron Hainsey, who assisted on Nash’s first-period goal, slapped a rebound behind Howard at 4:59. He’s made 27 saves on 29 shots in the last two games.
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