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Blue Jackets put win streak on line against Red Wings

by Dan Rosen

RED WINGS (12-8-4) at BLUE JACKETS (8-12-4)


Last 10: Detroit 5-3-2; Columbus 4-4-2

Season series: This is the fourth of five meetings between the clubs this season. Columbus has won the past two in regulation and has picked up five out of a possible six points against Detroit.

Big story: It's the first of a home-and-home set between two teams that are playing well of late. Detroit is 5-1-1 with just eight goals against in its past seven games. Columbus has won three in a row and has points in five straight games.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Top scorers Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary have gone cold, but it hasn't mattered to the Red Wings, who are winning with defense and goaltending these days.

This week alone they've beaten the Colorado Avalanche, 2-1, and the Edmonton Oilers, 3-0. The Red Wings gave the Blackhawks a run last Sunday before losing in a shootout, 2-1.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard is 4-1-1 with a 1.15 goals-against average in his past six starts. However, coach Mike Babcock said backup Jonas Gustavsson will get the start Saturday in Columbus, leaving Howard fresh to play Sunday against the Blue Jackets in Detroit.

The Wings are also slowly getting healthy. Valterri Filppula (shoulder) won't play this weekend, but he could return next week. Darren Helm (back) has also resumed skating and is due back by the end of the month.

"Health would be a great thing," Babcock said in the Detroit Free Press. "It hasn't been something we've been fortunate to have thus far, but I see Helm was skating before us, Fil was skating with us, so it looks like we've got guys on the horizon."

Blue Jackets: Columbus is looking to be perfect on its current four-game homestand, which ends Saturday. The Blue Jackets are 3-0 with overtime wins over Colorado and Vancouver and a shootout win over Edmonton.

Their past five games have all gone into overtime or a shootout. The Blue Jackets are 3-0-2 in those games.

In fact, their past nine games have all been decided by one goal. The Blue Jackets are 4-3-2 in those games.

"At the start of the year we were in a lot of one-goal losses," said forward Matt Calvert, who scored the overtime-winner against Vancouver on Thursday. "It didn't go our way and you could blame it on bounces, but at the end of the night you've just got to keep on going."

Who's hot: The Red Wings are winning, but nobody can be characterized as particularly hot. Datsyuk and Brunner have assists in each of the past two games and Drew Miller has three points in the past four games. … For the Blue Jackets, Nick Foligno has five assists in the past five games after producing only six points on two goals and four assists in the first 19 games.

Injury report: Filppula and Helm remain out of Detroit's lineup. Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Todd Bertuzzi (back) and Mikael Samuelsson (finger) are all still out as well. … For Columbus, forward Derek Dorsett was placed on injured reserve Friday because of his fractured clavicle and he is expected to miss the remainder of the season. James Wisniewski (foot), John Moore (upper body) and Brandon Dubinsky (knee) are all on I.R.

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