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Detroit Red Wings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2 FINAL

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

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Detroit Red Wings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2 FINAL
Detroit Red Wings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Even though probable Hall of Famer Brett Hull scored the winning goal, the focus was on Detroit center Jason Williams.

Hull snapped a tie midway through the third period, and the Red Wings stretched their unbeaten streak to six games with a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

But Williams, a healthy scratch the previous 20 games, scored twice for Detroit.

``I've got to give him a tremendous amount of credit, for a young guy to go through what he's gone through the last couple of months,'' Detroit coach Dave Lewis said of Williams, who has practiced with the team lately but hadn't seen any game action. ``He deserves a lot credit. He opened the eyes of his teammates and coaches.''

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net goal for the Red Wings, winners of eight of 11 despite being riddled with injuries to key offensive players.

The Red Wings have won 15 of 19 games between the clubs and entered with the most points in the Western Conference, one more than Colorado in the race for the top playoff seed.

Williams was eager to play and contribute.

``It felt really good to get back in the lineup,'' said Williams, who scored Detroit's first two goals. ``I've been really waiting for this moment and I happened to get some good scoring chances.''

Rookie Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist, and Trevor Letowski also scored for Columbus, which has lost four straight.

Detroit's Curtis Joseph, making his first start since missing 11 games due to a sprained right ankle, finished with 31 saves. He also made a diving stop that led to Hull's goal.

Joseph said he was a bit rusty and acknowledged that his ankle was sore during the game.

``I was great at times and so-so at times,'' he said.

His best play was when he knocked the puck away from NHL goal-scoring leader Rick Nash, alone in front, propelling the Red Wings on a rush. Steve Yzerman quickly skated up the ice and got a pass to Nicklas Lidstrom.

Lidstrom fed Hull for a one-timed slap shot from just inside the blue line at 12:05. Hull has three goals and five assists in seven games.

``Unfortunately for us, two guys fell behind the net and Nash was knocked off balance and that's how they got a four-on-two rush,'' Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. ``They don't miss too many of those, especially with Brett Hull shooting.''

Letowski gave Columbus a 1-0 lead at 5:36 of the first period when he curled around the left post and stuffed a shot past Joseph, who was out of position.

Williams made it 1-1 by whipping a backhander over Marc Denis' right shoulder at 11:27.

``We've been working on little breakaways in practice here and there,'' said Williams who took newly acquired Robert Lang's spot in the lineup. Lang, the NHL's fourth-leading scorer, broke a rib against Tampa Bay on Monday and is expected to miss at least three weeks.

In the second period, Columbus failed to score on a two-man advantage that lasted nearly two minutes. Joseph made at least three stellar saves, including one from close range on Zherdev.

``I think once we killed those (five-on-three penalties) off that kind of gave us a lift,'' Joseph said.

Lewis liked what he saw of Joseph.

``I thought he really battled hard five-on-three and made some huge saves,'' Lewis said.

Williams scored on a breakaway at 7:46 to make it 2-1.

Zherdev tied it 2-2 10 minutes later, skating in from the left boards, sidestepping defenseman Jiri Fischer and scoring his eighth goal with a low shot from the slot.

scoring summary
1st Period
Trevor Letowski (10) ASST: Nikolay Zherdev (12), Scott Lachance (4)
1 - 0 CBJ
Jason Williams (3) ASST: Brendan Shanahan (25), Jiri Fischer (12)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
Jason Williams (4) ASST: Ray Whitney (25), Mathieu Schneider (32)
2 - 1 DET
Nikolay Zherdev (8) ASST: Manny Malhotra (10), Luke Richardson (5)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
Brett Hull (23) ASST: Nicklas Lidstrom (27), Steve Yzerman (26)
3 - 2 DET
EN - Henrik Zetterberg (14) ASST: NONE
4 - 2 DET
penalty summary
1st Period
Tim Jackman  Hooking against  Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas  Diving against  Tim Jackman
Tim Jackman  Hooking
Jaroslav Spacek  Tripping against  Tomas Holmstrom
2nd Period
Boyd Devereaux  Hooking - Obstruction against  Manny Malhotra
Darren McCarty  Tripping against  Nikolay Zherdev
Chris Chelios  Hi-sticking against  Jaroslav Spacek
Kirk Maltby  Cross checking against  Rick Nash
Tyler Wright  Hooking against  Derian Hatcher
3rd Period
Scott Lachance  Holding against  Tomas Holmstrom
Jamie Rivers  Slashing against  Nikolay Zherdev
goalie stats
Curtis Joseph
Curtis Joseph
SA: 33TOI: 60:00
Saves: 31EV: 22 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 8
SV%: .939SH: 1 - 1
Marc Denis
Marc Denis
SA: 34TOI: 59:00
Saves: 31EV: 25 - 28
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .912SH: 2 - 2 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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