The Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings will meet tonight for the third time in the past week and a half and for the second time in that stretch at Nationwide Arena. The home team has won both of the previous two meetings as Columbus claimed a 4-3 victory in Columbus on Dec. 18, while Detroit claimed a 5-0 win in Detroit two nights later.
The Red Wings (22-9-5) have won 25 of the 32 all-time meetings with the Blue Jackets (14-19-3), losing only five in regulation and another via the shootout. One other contest ended in a tie.
The Blue Jackets are hoping to take some momentum from a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win against Boston on Tuesday. Sergei Fedrorov scored with 23 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime before David Vyborny caught the Bruins on a line change and netted the game-winner on a breakaway at 3:06 of the extra session.
"You got a world-class player on the breakaway," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said of Vyborny, who had two goals and also assisted on Fedorov's tying score. "You pretty much know it's in."
Despite the win, Hitchcock was not entirely pleased with his team's performance.
"The second period was the worst period we've played all year," Hitchcock said of the period in which his club allowed two Boston goals and got outshot 14-7.
"You cannot win unless you play with competitive composure. That was the whole focus for us."
Columbus is hoping to win consecutive games for the first time since a season-high five-game winning streak from Dec. 2-12.
Vyborny leads the team with 33 points this season and his 15 points in 31 games against Detroit rank second in franchise history behind Rick Nash's 16.
Detroit tries to add to its victory total against Columbus after winning two of three consecutive games versus Minnesota due to a quirk in scheduling.
The Red Wings beat the Wild 3-1 on Wednesday behind Dominik Hasek's 32 saves and Johan Franzen's goal and assist. The victory came after a 3-2 overtime loss at Minnesota on Saturday, which was preceded by a 3-1 home win over the Wild the previous night.
Hasek earned both wins, with backup Chris Osgood in goal for the loss. The 41-year-old Hasek has won four of his last five starts with a 1.01 goals-against average in the victories.
"Obviously, having good goaltending is everything," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Dom is playing well."
The six-time Vezina Trophy winner, who is tied with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for the league lead with five shutouts, made 27 stops Dec. 20 in a 5-0 win over the Blue Jackets.
Hasek improved to 4-1 with a 2.07 GAA in six starts against Columbus.
Nicklas Lidstrom, who leads the Wings with 31 points, has 25 career points in 31 games against the Jackets.
Pavel Datsyuk leads Detroit with 14 career points at Columbus, where the Red Wings have won 12 times with one tie in 16 trips.
The Red Wings hope to have Robert Lang back in the lineup after the center exited Wednesday's game in the first period with the flu.
-- Associated Press