Red Wings-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (7-1-0) at Columbus Blue Jackets (2-5-0).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.
Manny Legace is making a successful transition from quality backup to No. 1 goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings.
He'll look to continue his impressive start to the season when the Red Wings travel to Nationwide Arena for the first of back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tabbed as Detroit's top goalie entering the season, Legace put himself through a grueling offseason workout regimen.
So far, it's paid off as he's played in every game during Detroit's fast 7-1 start.
"(I've been) running, lifting...I don't think I've ever lifted as much as I did when I came to camp." said Legace, who made 23 saves in Friday's 3-2 win over Anaheim.
"I couldn't even bench 185 two years ago, and I benched 200 pounds 18 times this year. My wind feels great out there. Two years ago, coming out of games I would have been dragging."
Legace anticipated the heavy workload with the departure of Dominik Hasek. But a torn groin muscle has kept Chris Osgood from sharing goaltending duties, leaving Legace to fill the void for the immediate future.
"It's a great opportunity," Legace said. "The boys have been playing real well in front of me. The defense has really been playing solid."
The offense did its part Friday as Pavel Datsyuk, Robert Lang and Mikael Samuelsson scored power-play goals.
Detroit, which is 8-1-1 in its last 10 meetings with Columbus, faces a Blue Jackets team coming off just its second win of the season.
Jason Chimera scored twice and Adam Foote added his first goal with Columbus, leading the Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over San Jose on Friday night.
The Blue Jackets were reeling after going 1-3 on a road trip and came into the game with the fewest points (2) and fewest goals (11) in the NHL.
"We needed to get a win and get some confidence," Foote said. "We had a long week of practice going over some things. We did a lot of little things better than we did on the road trip and it really helped."
STANDINGS: Red Wings - 14 points, 1st place, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 4 points, 4th place (tied), 10 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Samuelsson, 6 goals; Jason Williams, 8 assists; Henrik Zetterberg, 9 points; Brendan Shanahan, 19 PIM. Blue Jackets - Bryan Berard, Dan Fritsche and Jan Hrdina, 2 goals; Manny Malhotra, 5 assists, 5 points; Jody Shelley, 13 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 20): Red Wings - Power play: 25.0 percent (11 for 44), 3rd (tied) in the NHL. Penalty killing: 93.2 percent (41 for 44), 3rd. Blue Jackets - Power play: 10.0 percent (4 for 40), 25th (tied). Penalty killing: 87.2 percent (41 for 47), 8th.
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (7-1-0, 1 SO, 1.99 GAA). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (2-3-0, 0, 3.01); Pascal Leclaire (0-2-0, 3.56).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 4-2-0.
LAST MEETING: April 3, 2004; Blue Jackets, 4-1. At Columbus, Rick Nash broke a 1-1 tie with his league-leading 41st goal, and Denis made 32 saves as the Blue Jackets ended their season with a victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 3-0-0 on the road; Blue Jackets - 1-1-0 at home.