Wednesday began with an injury to Steve Mason in the morning skate, continued with the Blue Jackets scrambling to get amateur tryout signee Shawn Hunwick to Columbus in time for the game, and ended with rookie Allen York stymying the Detroit Red Wings for his first career NHL victory.
Just like they drew it up, right?
It was a hectic day to say the least at Nationwide Arena, but the Blue Jackets channeled their energy on to the ice surface and made amends for a disappointing performance on Monday night at Joe Louis Arena. R.J. Umberger led the way with a goal and an assist, Nikita Nikitin chipped in a pair of helpers, and York made 29 stops en route to a 4-2 victory before 12,432 at Nationwide Arena. Vinny Prospal, Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard also tallied goals in the win, which ended a brief two-game losing skid.
Prospal got it started early in the first period by driving hard to the net and burying a rebound off Rick Nash’s shot from the left wing. Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin booted the puck high into the air, and when it dropped, Prospal was there to cash in his 14th goal of the season. Later in the first period, Ryan Johansen won a puck battle with Brad Stuart at the offensive blue line and charged into the zone, dishing a perfect feed to Dorsett on the fly. Dorsett went to the backhand and roofed it under the crossbar for a 2-0 lead at 14:17, forcing Detroit coach Mike Babcock to call his timeout.
Henrik Zetterberg’s 22nd of the season cut the lead in half late in the first period, but the Blue Jackets scored twice in a span of 1:27 in the second to take a commanding 4-1 lead. At 14:30 of the middle frame, Brassard took a beautiful stretch pass from Nikitin at the blue line and beat Conklin five-hole to make it 3-1. Umberger also went between Conklin’s legs shortly thereafter, finishing off a 2-on-1 with Cam Atkinson for the fourth Columbus goal.
Niklas Kronwall’s power-play goal at 9:34 of the third period pulled the Red Wings within two, but the Blue Jackets put the clamps on for the last half of the period to preserve the win.
The Red Wings probably could have lived with a 3-1 deficit after two periods, especially given their erratic play with the puck in the second period. Umberger’s goal less than 90 seconds after Brassard made it 3-1 was a killer for Detroit, and instead, they were looking at a three-goal third period to get something out of the hockey game.
Prospal has goals in three of the last seven games after scoring his 14th of the season tonight. The goals come after he was held to two goals the previous 29 games. He has points in three of the last four (2-2-4), while collecting 5-14-19 the last 27 games after being held to 1-2-3 the previous 16 games. In 21 career games against Detroit, he has 4-10-14.
Nash has points in three-straight games after registering an assist on Prospal’s goal. He has collected 2-3-5 during that stretch and has 3-3-6 the last five games after being held pointless the previous seven games. In 55 career games against Detroit, he has 25-22-47.
Dorsett snapped a 16-game goalless skid with his 11th of the season tonight. It was his first goal since scoring Feb. 14 vs. St. Louis. His 11 goals are a career high and seven better than his previous best of four (set three times previously). It was his first point in seven games as he had an assist Mar. 6 vs. Phoenix.
Brassard has goals in two of the last three games after scoring his 14th of the season tonight. The goals come after he went goalless the previous nine games. He has points in three of the last four games (1-4-5) after being held pointless the previous six games. He has tallied 12-20-32 the last 44 games after opening the season with 2-3-5 the first 24 games.
Nikitin has points in four of the last six games after recording two assists on the night. He has 1-5-6 during that stretch after being held pointless the previous 11 games. He has set career highs in goals (5), assists (22), points (27) and games played (56).
Johansen has assists in three of the last nine games after notching an assist on Dorsett’s goal. The assists come after he went the previous 11 games without a helper. He has 1-2-3 in six career games against Detroit.
vs. Florida Panthers
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Friday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan FM & BlueJackets.com