COLUMBUS -- Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings were not about to let two points slip away here again.
Nine days after losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena, Howard made 27 saves and came within a minute of his 22nd NHL shutout in a 3-1 win against them Thursday.
The Red Wings (35-25-11) are one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points for the first wild card.
Henrik Zetterberg scored his 13th goal at 7:16 of the third period to give Detroit a 2-0 lead, and Darren Helm scored his 11th at 12:35 to make it 3-0.
Video: DET@CBJ: Zetterberg buries rebound, ties Shanahan
Columbus center Alexander Wennberg scored on the power play with 1:00 left to ruin Howard's bid for his first shutout since Oct. 9, a 4-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on opening night.
"The guys played a tremendous game in front of me," Howard said. "All night long, they battled hard in front. They really didn't allow them to establish that presence. It made my night easier."
Howard made 27 saves on 31 shots in a 5-3 loss at Columbus on March 8, when the Blue Jackets had a 16-4 shot advantage in the first period.
It was different Thursday.
Video: DET@CBJ: Howard shows off quick reflexes in crease
Red Wings forward Luke Glendening opened the scoring at 10:23 of the first period, when Detroit outshot Columbus 9-4.
"We needed a solid game, two points," said Zetterberg, who scored for the first time in 13 games and is tied with Brendan Shanahan for eighth on Detroit's career goals list (309). "We had a solid first period. We got the first goal. That helps. The second period, we played on our heels a little bit. When we play like that, teams get momentum and they spend more time in our end."
It was the first time in eight games that the Red Wings scored first.
Columbus (28-34-8), which has lost three straight, went 156:02 between goals at home, the longest drought in its history. The record was 104:24.
Video: DET@CBJ: Howard stops puck with shoulder
"The last couple of games, we haven't generated enough," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "If I had the answer, I'd tell you. We're not getting enough. It's not one particular person. It's a number of people."
Tortorella shuffled his lines and inserted four call-ups from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League into the lineup, but nothing clicked.
"We're switching lines, but we didn't work hard enough today," Wennberg said. "We're not scoring enough goals. We felt like we had a good chance, but we didn't grab it."
Glendening scored his fifth goal when Riley Sheahan's shot deflected off his leg.
Video: DET@CBJ: Helm rips puck top shelf by Bobrovsky
"None of mine are pretty," Glendening said.
It may not have been pretty, but it was an important goal for the Red Wings, who were outshot 23-2 and outscored 2-0 in the first period of a 4-3 loss at the Flyers on Tuesday.
Howard could see the difference against the Blue Jackets.
"Right from the drop of the puck, we controlled the puck in their end and we didn't give them anything," Howard said. "It's great to see."
Video: DET@CBJ: Sheahan deflects puck off Glendening
Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said the Red Wings dipped a little in the second period but finished the game strong.
"We have to continue to focus on playing as hard as we can and as well as we can for 60 minutes," Blashill said.
The Blue Jackets came close to tying it 1-1 late in the second. Nick Foligno brought the puck into the Red Wings zone, spun at the right faceoff dot and spotted Scott Hartnell skating toward the slot. After Hartnell's initial shot hit Howard in the right shoulder, the puck fell behind the Red Wings goalie and went off his skate before being cleared while Hartnell poked at the rebound.
"Jimmy was great," Blashill said. "Jimmy controlled his rebounds well, he had good body control, the puck stuck to him well -- all the things you need to be successful."
Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand, a third-round pick (No. 89) in the 2013 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut. He was minus-1 and had one shot in 16:02.
Detroit plays at the Florida Panthers on Saturday, when Columbus hosts the New Jersey Devils.
Video: Howard stifles Jackets to lead Wings to 3-0 win