Red Wings-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (8-1-0) at Columbus Blue Jackets (2-6-0).
TIME: Monday, 7:00 p.m. EDT.
Cutting loose some veteran talent after the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement was reached has somehow made the Detroit Red Wings even better.
The Red Wings, winners of five straight, look to record their league-high ninth win when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena for the second time in three days.
To get under the salary cup, the Red Wings opted not to sign veteran forwards Darren McCarty and Brett Hull and goaltender Curtis Joseph. In their place, Detroit has given more ice time to young players Jason Williams, Daniel Cleary and Johan Franzen.
As a result, the Red Wings are younger, hungrier and faster.
"Everybody seems to be on the right page," Williams said. "When everybody's working together, it makes it that much easier. We're playing good as a team right now and hopefully we can keep it going."
Detroit has won eight of its first nine games, losing only to Vancouver on Oct. 10. The Red Wings have scored a league-high 36 goals while allowing less than two per game.
Williams scored his first three goals of the season, leading Detroit to a 6-0 victory Saturday at Columbus.
It was Williams' first career three-goal game. The last time he played on the Blue Jackets' home ice, he scored twice in a 4-2 Detroit win, back in the spring of 2004.
The Red Wings have outscored opponents 19-6 during their five-game win streak.
Columbus, meanwhile, has lost four of five,
"It's probably a good thing that we get back at them in 48 hours," Blue Jackets goalie Marc Denis said. "We have a chance to make amends and redeem ourselves here. I remember two years ago we went to Detroit and got our lunches handed to us. We came back here and beat them at home."
One reason for Detroit's dominance this season is its special teams play. The Red Wings' power play is the league's third-best while their penalty killing has allowed only four goals in 55 short-handed situations.
Columbus has scored a league-low 15 goals.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 22): Red Wings - 16 points, 1st place, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 4 points, 4th place (tied), 12 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Mikael Samuelsson, 6 goals; Williams, 8 assists; Zetterberg, 9 points; Brendan Shanahan, 19 PIM. Blue Jackets - Jason Chimera, 3 goals; Manny Malhotra, 5 assists; Bryan Berard and Malhotra, 5 points; Jody Shelley, 17 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 22): Red Wings - Power play: 26.3 percent (15 for 57), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 92.7 percent (51 for 55), 3rd. Blue Jackets - Power play: 9.3 percent (5 for 54), 29th. Penalty killing: 86.4 percent (51 for 59), 7th.
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Manny Legace (8-1-0, 2 SO, 1.77 GAA); Jimmy Howard (no appearances). Blue Jackets - Denis (2-4-0, 3.24); Pascal Leclaire (0-2-0, 3.56).
SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 22; Red Wings, 6-0. At Columbus, Ohio, Legace needed to make only 17 saves for his second shutout of the season and eighth of his career.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 4-0-0 on the road; Blue Jackets - 1-2-0 at home.