Nash still in fold, Blue Jackets welcome in Red Wings
Monday, 02.27.2012 / 4:38 PMRED WINGS (41-19-3) at BLUE JACKETS (18-37-7)
TV: FS-D+, FS-O (HD)
Detroit 6-3-1; Columbus 4-5-1
The Red Wings hold the 2-1-0 advantage over the Blue Jackets as the teams face off for the fourth of six regular-season meetings. Columbus did take the one home game played against Detroit this season.
The Blue Jackets did not trade coveted superstar forward Rick Nash
by Monday's official 3 pm ET deadline. This means that the high-impact right wing will complete his ninth season with Columbus. Although Nash has struggled to match his offensive output from previous seasons, he still leads all Jackets players with 43 points (21g, 22a) this season. Nash has also played well against Detroit throughout his career with 43 points (23g, 20a) in 52 games.
While Detroit set an NHL record with its 23rd consecutive home win on Feb. 19, it has lost three straight games since then, including two in a row at Joe Louis Arena. The Wings' trip to Columbus will also have them seeking to end a current three-game road losing streak. But despite its recent struggles, Detroit can slip back into the top spot in the Western Conference with a win Tuesday and a Vancouver Canucks loss.
The Wings need an improvement over last Saturday's 4-3 loss against the visiting Avalanche in which the closest Detroit got to competing was a 3-1 deficit in the opening minute of the third period. Jiri Hudler
scored twice for Detroit, while Valtteri Filppula
got his team within one goal with a tally in the final five minutes of regulation, but it wasn't enough to overcome another unbalanced effort.
"It's unacceptable to play like that, to be as poor as we were," head coach Mike Babcock said after the game. "We had a rally in the third period, but for two games -- and probably for three -- we haven't had much energy."
Last-place Columbus has been relegated to playing the role of spoiler and, with three games left against the Central Division-leading Red Wings, it can still make an impact down the stretch. The Jackets will try to end a two-game losing streak Tuesday after being outscored by a total of 9-2 in their most recent losses to Pittsburgh and Colorado last week.
Although Nash was kept at the trade deadline, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson was still answering plenty of questions about his captain in a post-deadline press conference Monday.
"Nash approached us and asked us to consider trading him. We pursued a number of options, but none provided the value back to have us trade a player of Rick's caliber," Howson said. "The price was high and I won't apologize for that."
For Columbus, Nash has four points (3g, 1a) over his last three games played. … Filppula has 2 goals and 2 assists over his last four games for the Wings.
The Jackets will be without forwards Jared Boll
(foot) and Kristian Huselius
(groin). Defensemen Marc Methot
and Radek Martinek
are gone for the season. … For the Wings, forward Pavel Datsyuk
is recovering from knee surgery, while forward Patrick Eaves
remains out indefinitely with a concussion.
It might not be so bad if Detroit falls behind early to Columbus on Tuesday as the Wings have won 50 percent of their games when trailing after one period, while the Jackets have just a .444 winning percentage when scoring the first goal of the game.
The Wings were relatively quiet at the trade deadline, but they did deal veteran defenseman Mike Commodore to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday for a conditional draft pick and recalled 23-year-old d-man Brendan Smith
from Grand Rapids (AHL) as a result. This was a move Red Wings management knew had to be made in order to clear room for a younger, more effective pair of legs on the blue line come playoff time.
"(Smith) really played good in the American Hockey League, it’s kind of hard to keep Mike Commodore around here when Brendan Smith
is ahead of him, so we made a decision," general manager Ken Holland told the team's official web site shortly after the trade was made Monday.