DETROIT – Someone forgot to tell the Red Wings they were struggling.
Mired in a battle with divisional rival Nashville for home-ice advantage in the Western Conference standings, Detroit busted out of its three-week slump in a big way: they scored four goals in the first 10 minutes tonight, chased Steve Mason from the net after it was 6-0, and climbed back into fourth place with a 7-2 win before 20,066 at Joe Louis Arena.
Ty Conklin made his third consecutive start for the Red Wings, who won for just the third time in their last 11 games. Conklin made 24 saves and was not overly tested until the third period, and improved to 5-5-1 on the season with the victory. Henrik Zetterberg had four assists on the night and Todd Bertuzzi had three helpers, and teamed up for an overwhelming start that gave the Blue Jackets a steep hill to climb before the first period was complete.
Tomas Holmstrom scored his first of two power-play goals just 1:06 into the game, tapping a centering pass from Zetterberg into the open side for an early 1-0 lead. Pavel Datsyuk fed rookie Gustav Nyquist with a dazzling no-look backhand pass at 5:35, and Nyquist made no mistake in depositing it top shelf for a 2-0 margin. Just over three minutes later, Zetterberg set up Holmstrom’s second of the period on another backhand dish at the side of the goal.
That made it a 3-0 game at 8:55, and Jiri Hudler made it 4-0 just 56 seconds later by scoring on a loose puck that was overskated by R.J. Umberger in front of Mason. Interim head coach Todd Richards called his timeout in an effort to slow down the high-flying Red Wings, but the home side had already collected all the momentum.
Nick Lidstrom scored his 11th goal of the season on a delayed penalty at 6:17 of the second period, and Brad Stuart made it 6-0 at 8:34. Mason was relieved in favor of rookie Allen York, who made 10 saves the rest of the way. Datsyuk and Mark Letestu (who extended a goal-scoring streak to three games) traded goals early in the third period, and Rick Nash scored his team-leading 27th of the season midway through the final stanza.
The Red Wings’ four quick goals in the first period not only happened fast, but quick enough that there was not even a media timeout to break up the action. Holmstrom’s second power-play goal to make it a 3-0 lead was the back-breaker for the Blue Jackets.
C Mark Letestu has goals in three-straight games after scoring his 11th of the season tonight. He has scored six goals the last 10 games after being held goalless the previous 16 games. The point was the 50th of his NHL career, as he has registered 26-24-50 in 130 NHL games.
LW Rick Nash has goals in three of the last four games after scoring his 27th of the season tonight. He added an assist to give him back-to-back multi-point games. In 54 career games against the Red Wings, he has 25-21-46.
D Nikita Nikitin has points in three of the last five games after picking up a helper on Letestu’s goal. He has registered 4-8-12 the last 22 games after being held to 0-4-4 the previous 13 games. In six career games against the Red Wings, he has 1-3-4.
G Allen York made his seventh appearance of the season of the season when he replaced Steve Mason in the second period. He stopped 10-of-11 shots in 31:26 of action. He has stopped 21 of the last 22 shots he has faced.
vs. Detroit Red Wings
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan FM & BlueJackets.com