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GAME DAY: at Detroit

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

  Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Detroit Red Wings
RECORDS - CBJ: 24-44-7 (Road: 10-23-4), DET: 45-25-5 (Home: 29-5-2)
WHEN: Mar. 26, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.   |   WHERE: Joe Louis Arena
FOX Sports Ohio (HD)  |  LISTEN: 97.1 FM &

GAME DAY ON THE ROAD presented by:



It’s not often the word “slump” finds its way into a sentence with “Detroit Red Wings,” but that is exactly what they are going through right now. Detroit has been stung by the injury bug throughout its lineup but none more glaring than between the pipes: both Jimmy Howard and backup Joey MacDonald are out due to minor injuries, forcing the Red Wings to recall Ty Conklin from Grand Rapids (AHL) via re-entry waivers and call up rookie goaltender Jordan Pearce from the Griffins, as well.

Conklin was fantastic in his first start back with the Red Wings, making several key saves and helping Detroit get to overtime against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Ryan Callahan’s game-winner was the difference, and at the time, it was the Red Wings’ sixth consecutive loss – by far their longest winless skid of the season. After a couple days off, they regrouped and rallied from a 4-1 deficit to stun the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, 5-4, at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night to snap the drought. The Hurricanes could not hang on to a three-goal cushion after losing 5-1 to the Blue Jackets the night before.

The last time the Blue Jackets and Red Wings met at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit was in the midst of a record-setting 23-game, four-month long home winning streak (eventually ended by the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 15). Columbus took two one-goal leads thanks to tallies by Ryan Russell and Nikita Nikitin, but the latter left the game due to injury and the Blue Jackets were down to five defensemen for the second half of the game.

A four-round shootout eventually decided the game, and the winning goal came off the stick of Valtteri Filppula, who stepped up in the absence of Pavel Datsyuk. Detroit’s win over Carolina was also Nicklas Lidstrom’s first game back in the lineup, which is a good sign for the Red Wings who desperately need to get healthy.

Unless Howard or MacDonald is deemed healthy to play, Conklin should start in goal tonight against the Blue Jackets.

Nash (26) Franzen (26)
Prospal (34) Datsyuk (43)
Nash (49) Zetterberg, Filppula (62)
Dorsett (198) Bertuzzi (62)
MacKenzie (+4) Lidstrom (+8)
Mason (14-25-3)
Howard (33-15-3)
Sanford (2.60) Howard (2.15)
Sanford (.911) Howard (.920)
• The Blue Jackets have won two of the their last four games after snapping a four-game winless skid with a shootout win Mar. 18 at Calgary. Columbus has gone 11-12-1 the last 24 games after posting a 4-15-2 mark the previous 21 outings. Tonight’s game breaks up a span which has the Jackets playing five of six games at home. Following tonight’s contest, the club will host Detroit (Wednesday) and Florida (Friday).

•C Mark Letestu snapped a 16-game goalless skid with two goals Mar. 8 vs. Los Angeles. He had last scored Dec. 18 at St. Louis. The multi-goal game is the second of his NHL career and first since Dec. 8, 2010 vs. Toronto (with Pittsburgh), a span of 80 games. He has goals in back-to-back games after scoring his 10th goal of the season yesterday vs. Detroit. He has five goals the last nine games after being held goalless the previous 15 games. He has points in seven of the last 10 games with 5-3-8 during that stretch after being held to 0-1-1 the previous eight outings.

•Tonight marks fifth of six meetings overall and third of three at Joe Louis Arena this season between the Blue Jackets and Red Wings. Columbus is 18-38-11 all-time against Detroit, including a 7-22-4 mark at Joe Louis Arena.


LW - #26
  22 GOALS

• Injuries to top players meant Hudler needed to take his game to another level, and he has been a consistent offensive threat for the Red Wings all season. Playing top-six minutes with Henrik Zetterberg and a key role on the power play, Hudler’s offense has kept the Red Wings afloat.

D Radek Martinek (concussion); out for the season
LW Kristian Huselius (lower body); indefinitely
D Marc Methot (jaw); indefinitely
D Fedor Tyutin (hand); indefinitely
D James Wisniewski (upper body); indefinitely
G Curtis Sanford (lower body); indefinitely

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