|Not unlike several teams around the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings and GM Ken Holland were unable to make any significant additions to the club before the trade deadline yesterday. Classified as a seller’s market by several hockey pundits, the “buyers” had a difficult time putting deals together because of a limited number of teams interested in trading away assets. |
They did make one deal, sending defenseman Mike Commodore to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a conditional draft pick. Most of Holland’s work was done prior to deadline day – he acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey from the Lightning for a first-round pick just a few days ago, likely spelling the end of Commodore’s time in the Motor City.
After setting the NHL record for consecutive home wins (23) on Feb. 19, it has been anything but smooth sailing for the Red Wings since then. They are on the skids with a three-game losing streak entering tonight’s game at Nationwide Arena, and in the absence of Pavel Datsyuk (knee surgery), have struggled putting consecutive periods of solid play together. The Vancouver Canucks snapped the streak with a 4-3 shootout win at Joe Louis Arena last week and a few nights later, the Colorado Avalance came in and beat Detroit the night after a 5-0 win over the Blue Jackets.
It may be tough sledding for the Red Wings right now, but they are the last team to count out of a game. They sit just two points behind the Canucks for top spot in the Western Conference and with Jimmy Howard back from injury, are positioned well to make a late-season push for the No. 1 seed.
The Blue Jackets won the only meeting this season at Nationwide Arena back on Oct. 25, a 4-1 victory that was Columbus’ first of the season.
| || || |
|Nash (21) ||Franzen (23) |
|Prospal (28) ||Datsyuk (43) |
|Nash (43) ||Datsyuk (59) |
|Dorsett (179) ||Quincey (64) |
|MacKenzie (+1) ||Lidstrom (+25) |
|Sanford (10-14-4) |
|Howard (32-13-2) |
|Sanford (2.58) ||MacDonald (1.66) |
|Sanford (.914) ||MacDonald (.934) || |
|• Nikita Nikitin picked up an assist Sunday at Pittsburgh, his 18th of the season. He has set career highs in goals (2), assists, points (20) and games played (41-tied), bettering his marks of 1-8-9 set in 41 games last season. He ranks second among club defensemen in assists. |
• After playing seven of the previous nine at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets are in the midst of playing three of four on the road beginning with tonight’s game standing as the lone home game during that stretch. Columbus has posted a 5-5-1 mark the last 11 games after going winless its previous six games (0-5-1).
• Rick Nash scored a shorthanded goal this past Sunday at Pittsburgh. It was his first shorthanded goal since scoring shorthanded goals in back-to-back games Oct. 17-20, 2009, a span of 205 games. He has goals in three of the last four games after being held to one the previous 10 games.
• Tonight marks the fourth of six meetings overall and second of three at Nationwide Arena this season between the Blue Jackets and Red Wings. Columbus is 18-37-11 all-time against Detroit, including a 11-15-7 mark at Nationwide Arena.
LW - #40
• The Wings will need even more offense out of Zetterberg with Datsyuk on the shelf, and the slick Swede has been scoring in bunches of late. He’s picked up four goals and 10 assists in his last 11 games, and figures to get the bulk of top-line center minutes alongside Johan Franzen.
D Radek Martinek (concussion); out for the season
LW Kristian Huselius (lower body); indefinitely
D Marc Methot (jaw); indefinitely
RW Jared Boll (foot); week-to-week