COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Even with a couple of key injuries, the Detroit Red Wings are primed for another run at the Stanley Cup.
Jason Williams scored the go-ahead goal and Chris Osgood made it stand in the Red Wings' 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
"They're proud guys. They want to win. They want to be the best," coach Mike Babcock said. "We all know the best isn't measured now. You get the silver thing for winning the marathon in the spring. And that's what we want to do."
Both teams seemed tired in the third period after a wild 6-5 shootout victory by the Red Wings 24 hours earlier in Detroit. The Wings were also playing without their two top scorers, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
Brendan Shanahan and Tomas Holmstrom also had goals for Detroit, which cemented its position atop the Presidents' Trophy standings with 114 points - which would give the Red Wings home ice throughout the playoffs. Chris Chelios added an empty-net goal.
"We keep it pretty simple on the road," Williams said after collecting his career-high 20th goal. "We don't try to do anything fancy. It's just simple Red Wing hockey."
Osgood had 27 saves, including a big stop on former teammate Sergei Fedorov's hard slap shot with 29 seconds left and goaltender Pascal Leclaire off the ice for an extra attacker. Osgood also skated to the top of the left circle to smother a shot by Columbus' Rostislav Klesla late in the third period.
"They're the best team in the league and we played well against them this weekend," Leclaire said. "I don't think we panic anymore. Even when we're down a goal ... we're going to keep pushing."
The Red Wings haven't lost in regulation in more than a month, since a 5-2 home setback to Phoenix on March 7. They have scored at least one point in their last 16 games and have lost in regulation in only two of their last 29 starts dating to Jan. 24.
"It seems as if we don't turn it over as much on the road as we do at home," Osgood said. "We're real smart and we keep ourselves in every game."
Jan Hrdina and Manny Malhotra scored the goals for Columbus, which had won a franchise-record six in a row before dropping the back-to-back decisions to the Red Wings.
Hrdina scored his 10th on a shot from the top of the right circle just 3:03 in.
Shanahan tied it with a nifty athletic move, using his leg to stop Mark Mowers' shot and then wristing the puck past Leclaire. It was Shanahan's 36th of the year.
"We play every game to win," Shanahan said. "The fact that the Blue Jackets were coming in on a hot streak, I think it helps us prepare. They've given us real good tests all year and they're building something pretty good here."
The Red Wings went up 2-1 when Holmstrom notched his 27th off a rebound, beating Hrdina to a loose puck after Mikael Samuelsson had tipped Niklas Kronwall's shot from the point.
Detroit's lead might have been even bigger except for an acrobatic save by Leclaire. After a flurry, Steve Yzerman had a wide-open net but Leclaire got a piece of the puck with his stick. The puck was still sliding toward the goal line behind Leclaire, but he spun around and flicked the puck away.
The teams then traded goals in a 2-minute span of the second period.
After Malhotra beat Osgood high on the glove side on a 2-on-1 break, Williams' slap shot from the top of the left circle slipped through traffic to give the Red Wings the lead for good.
Williams has 20 goals in 77 games this season after scoring 17 in his 95 career games heading into this year.
Yzerman assisted on the goal, giving him five goals and nine assists while extending his points streak to 11 games.
"With the standings the way they are, we didn't have to come in here and compete," Babcock said. "We've got a veteran group with good leadership - that's what we do."
Notes: Nikolai Zherdev (27 goals, 27 assists) missed his third game in a row for Columbus with a sprained knee. ... A huge turnout of Red Wings fans helped Columbus pick up its ninth sellout of the year.
|Jan Hrdina (10) ASST: David Vyborny (39)|
1 - 0 CBJ
|Brendan Shanahan (36) ASST: Mark Mowers (8), Andreas Lilja (12)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Tomas Holmstrom (27) ASST: Mikael Samuelsson (19), Niklas Kronwall (6)|
2 - 1 DET
|Manny Malhotra (9) ASST: NONE|
2 - 2 Tie
|Jason Williams (20) ASST: Steve Yzerman (20), Robert Lang (42)|
3 - 2 DET
|EN - Chris Chelios (4) ASST: NONE|
4 - 2 DET
|Manny Malhotra Tripping|
|Rick Nash Hooking against Kris Draper|
|Tomas Holmstrom Hooking against Alexandre Picard|
|Aaron Johnson Roughing against Daniel Cleary|
|Daniel Cleary Roughing against Aaron Johnson|
|Kirk Maltby Tripping|
|Trevor Letowski Hooking against Cory Cross|
|Nicklas Lidstrom Interference|
|Adam Foote Tripping against Steve Yzerman|