DETROIT – The Blue Jackets didn’t care how many consecutive games the Red Wings had won at Joe Louis Arena. Their goal was to make sure they didn’t extend it by one more game, and they nearly did so.
Columbus was the better team out of the gate, the Red Wings evened things up in the second period and brought their “attack wave” in the third period -- but the Blue Jackets were up to the task and had several chances of their own down the stretch. Valtteri Filppula’s shootout goal in the fourth round was the difference in the game, as the Red Wings got the extra point in a 3-2 victory in front of a vocal crowd of 20,066.
Despite the momentum on the Red Wings side prior to puck drop, it was the Blue Jackets’ third line that applied a stern forecheck and forced Detroit to make the first mistake. Derek Dorsett fired a wrist shot from the right circle that ate up Jimmy Howard, and Ryan Russell was right on the door step to jam the fumble across the line.
But just as the Blue Jackets were starting to set the tone, the Red Wings used their transition game to bring it back to all-square. Filppula hit Niklas Kronwall with a pass at the offensive blue line and the lumbering defenseman made no mistake with a wrist shot at 11:34.
The Blue Jackets steadied themselves after that goal and took the lead just before the midway point of the second period. At the tail end of a power play, Nikita Nikitin ripped a shot from the blue line that beat Howard top-shelf for a 2-1 lead, but Nikitin’s night would be ended prematurely by a major penalty assessed to Henrik Zetterberg. Both players were racing for the puck in the Columbus end, and Zetterberg pushed Nikitin into the boards just as he crossed the goal line.
The Blue Jackets were unable to make the Red Wings pay with three-plus minutes of power play time, and Detroit tied it up less than three minutes later on Nick Lidstrom’s power-play goal.
Curtis Sanford was huge for the Blue Jackets in regulation and the shootout, stopping Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler and getting help from the crossbar on Todd Bertuzzi’s attempt. He made 29 saves, and unfortunately, his team wasn’t able to get one on the board in the shootout.
Though they didn’t get the extra point, the Blue Jackets tilted the ice in the second half of the third period – and it started to change with the Zetterberg major penalty. Columbus did not score on the extended man advantage but carried the momentum into overtime, where they had a handful of chances to win the game.
The Blue Jackets scored the first goal of the game for the 23rd time this season. The club is now 10-9-4 in those games, while going 5-15-4 when tied after the first period and 2-6-3 when tied after two periods. Columbus is now 18-37-11 all-time against Detroit, including a 7-22-4 mark at Joe Louis Arena.
Russell scored his second goal of the season and the second of his NHL career tonight. He scored his first NHL goal Jan. 13 vs. Phoenix.
Dorsett picked up his first assist in three games with a helper on Russell’s goal. He has points in four of the last seven games (1-3-4) and has collected 6-5-11 the last 26 games after being held to 1-0-1 the first 13 games of the season.
Nikitin snapped a 20-game goalless skid with his second of the season tonight. He had last scored Dec. 1 at Calgary. He has points in four of the last five games with 1-3-4 during that stretch.
Aaron Johnson picked up his 10th assist of the season with a helper on Russell’s goal. He has assists in four of the last seven games with 0-5-5 during that stretch.
vs. Nashville Predators
Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, Tenn.
Monday, 8 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com