For the first time in nearly two years, Jonas Gustavsson has won games on back-to-back days.
Once again playing in place of starting goalie Jimmy Howard, the Detroit Red Wings' backup made 36 saves to lead his team to a 2-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night.
Gustavsson was forced into action Monday afternoon against the Boston Bruins after Howard suffered a swollen left hand during pregame warmups. Gustavsson made 28 saves to help Detroit earn a 3-2 win.
He was every bit as sharp Tuesday. The 28-year-old was brilliant in the opening period, when he stopped all 18 shots he faced and allowed the Red Wings to head to the intermission with a 1-0 lead despite being outshot 18-7.
"I felt good. We had a game yesterday, so back-to-back, and that was the first couple of games that I played, so that was different," Gustavsson said. "It's just a matter of preparing yourself and be ready to go out and have a good first period because that's usually the key in these kind of games."
The last time Gustavsson recorded wins on back-to-back days was in January 2012 while with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was in goal as Toronto swept a home-and-home series against the New York Islanders, including a 3-0 shutout at Air Canada Centre.
"Oh yeah, I remember now," Gustavsson said. "I remember the second game [in New York] and they came back with a bad bounce with 10 seconds left and then we won in overtime."
Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi scored for the Red Wings, who won their third straight and improved to 5-2-0.
Cam Atkinson had the lone goal for Columbus (2-3-0). Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 32 shots in the loss.
Alfredsson scored his first goal with the Red Wings 5:05 into the opening period. With the teams at even strength, Pavel Datsyuk chipped the puck from the slot towards the faceoff circle, where Alfredsson was alone to rip it past Bobrovsky to give Detroit a 1-0 lead. Alfredsson, who signed with the Red Wings as a free agent during the offseason, entered Tuesday's action with five assists through six games.
Columbus tied it 7:48 into the second period on Atkinson's second goal of the season. With Johan Franzen in the box serving an interference penalty, Atkinson carried the puck from just in front of his own goal all the way down the ice, skating through four Red Wings before poking the puck past Gustavsson to make it 1-1.
"I just used my speed to my benefit and kind of just went with it," Atkinson said.
But Detroit quickly responded with a power-play goal of its own. After Derek MacKenzie was whistled for interference, Henrik Zetterberg one-timed a shot from the right circle that never made it to Bobrovsky but bounced around in front of the net. Datsyuk and Bertuzzi each took whacks at the puck and it ultimately found its way through Bobrovsky's legs at 11:44 to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. Bertuzzi was credited with his second goal of the season.
Gustavsson's biggest save was a spectacular stop on Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson. He slid across the crease to smother a backhand shot from the right circle with 5:20 left to preserve the lead.
"I thought we deserved a better fate," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "I thought the guys worked real hard and I saw a lot of good things."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report