The Detroit Red Wings barely pulled out a win against a team long eliminated from the playoff race.
Tomas Holmstrom scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to lift Detroit - the NHL's top team - to a 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
The Red Wings blew a 4-1, second-period lead and saw second-leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg leave the game in the second period with an upper body injury. He was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests. Detroit was already without leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk, who is expected to miss at least a week with a lower body injury.
"A little adversity for us. Other guys got an opportunity," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Drapes (Kris Draper) scored a big goal there. I thought that was going to be the winner, but we turned the puck over one more time to get to the shootout."
Draper's goal 9:05 into the second period gave Detroit a 5-4 lead.
But just after the Blue Jackets pulled goalie Marc Denis for an extra attacker, Rick Nash scored from the slot after an unsuccessful clearing attempt by Niklas Kronwall. His 29th goal tied it 5-5 and completed his first NHL hat trick with 32.1 seconds left in regulation.
Brendan Shanahan had a goal and an assist, and Mikael Samuelsson, Kronwall, and Jason Williams also scored for Detroit. Robert Lang added two assists.
Mark Hartigan and Dan Fritsche added a goal and an assist each for Columbus, which had its six-game winning streak snapped.
Denis stopped Williams, Steve Yzerman (who hit the crossbar), Lang and Samuelsson before Holmstrom made a move and put a backhand shot under the crossbar.
Red Wings goalie Manny Legace turned aside Jaroslav Balastik, Nash, Hartigan, Trevor Letowski and David Vyborny.
"It's nerve-racking, especially after you've played awful in net during the night and then have a shootout," Legace said.
He stretched as far as he could to make a skate save on Nash after the 6-foot-4 forward made a move and tried to use his reach to stuff a puck between Legace's skate and the post.
"I thought I had him. A credit to him," Nash said.
Legace wasn't so sure at first.
"He's got such a long reach," he said. "As soon as he pulled it that way, I just tried to throw my stick out and distract him and luckily he hit the post. Hit the post, hit my skate. I just got lucky."
The Red Wings led 4-3 after the second period, when they scored three times and gave up two goals to Columbus.
Kronwall got his first goal of the season on a power play at 4:14 to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead. Shanahan netted his 35th when he put a rebound into an open net at 7:51. Williams made it 4-1 with his 19th just 1:27 later.
Columbus coach Gerard Gallant then called a timeout.
"We were disappointed because we gave up two quick goals, he said. "We didn't want to let it get away from us."
The last time the Blue Jackets were in Detroit on March 25, they rallied from a 3-0, third-period deficit for a 5-4 shootout win.
Turnovers allowed the Blue Jackets to get back in this one.
Hartigan picked off Cory Cross' pass along the boards, moved into the slot and beat Legace with 8:58 left in the middle period for his sixth goal. With only 3:18 remaining, Fritsche capitalized on Lang's turnover and backhanded in his own rebound.
Detroit scored just 1:01 into the game, when Samuelsson tipped in a pass from Zetterberg for his 22nd goal.
Nash tied it with his first of the game, a power-play tally with just 1:47 remaining in the opening period.
Denis finished with 31 saves. Legace stopped 18 shots.