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Jackets hope to keep rolling against Red Wings

by Mike Battaglino

BLUE JACKETS (9-12-4) at RED WINGS (12-9-4)


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

Season series: This is the fifth, final meeting. The Columbus Blue Jackets are 3-0-1 in the prior four, including a 3-0 victory Saturday, winning a season series against the Detroit Red Wings for the first time.

Big story: Even with a four-game winning streak, and a point in six straight, Columbus remains near the bottom of the Western Conference. Detroit sits fifth with 28 points, but a group of eight teams is bunched within three points.

"[If you look at the standings] we're either in fifth or 10th; we're just hanging on," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told FOX Sports Detroit on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: Columbus continued its best play of the season with the win Saturday over a perpetual nemesis. The Blue Jackets' best mark against the Red Wings in 11 seasons prior to this one was 3-3-0 in 2008-09.

"I didn't even know about that," defenseman Jack Johnson told FOX Sports Ohio on Saturday. "For whatever reason, I think we match up well against them. You have to bring your A game; they have too many world-class players and can embarrass you if you don't bring your A game."

Or, as Derek Brassard said, "If you don't bring your best against them, they will make fun of you."

No one can mock the Blue Jackets' penalty kill, 21-for-21 in its past nine games. Columbus has five power-play goals this season against Detroit, which has none in the five games.

The Blue Jackets knows a final victory against the Red Wings will not come easily.

"It's hard to win back to back," Johnson said. " ... They're going to be a really motivated group. The first period is going to be a real key [Sunday].

"For whatever reason, Detroit's been an awesome team at home. [We expect] a fast-paced, puck-possession game from them. It's always fun play to play in Detroit, there's a lot of history in that building."

Red Wings: Detroit expects to get some motivation from playing Columbus again so quickly after being shut out.

"No doubt about that," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said Saturday. "One good thing about back-to-back is you get a chance to redeem yourself. We'll regroup here and hope we have a better effort."

Babcock knows that is absolutely necessary.

"We're looking forward to it," Babcock said. "If we didn't get the message sent to us today ... they're a competitive team. … Whether we didn't prepare good enough, practiced too long [Friday] ... the bottom line is, we weren't mentally prepared to do it."

After Sunday, the Red Wings play seven of their next eight games on the road. That's bad news when you consider their power-play has tied an NHL record by going 10 road games without a goal, 0-for-36 total.

"Any way you look at it, we've got seven road games coming up," Babcock said. "We've got to be better than we were [Saturday]; it was disappointing."

Jimmy Howard will start in goal after Jonas Gustavsson played Saturday.

Who's hot: Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky got his first career shutout in his 99th game. He has won four straight, stopping 103 of 105 shots for a .981 save percentage. Defenseman Jack Johnson has a point in each of his three games played since returning from injury. … Fourteen Red Wings have at least one point over the past four games.

Injury report: Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett (clavicle) was lost for the season Thursday. Forward Brandon Dubinsky (knee) could be close to a return. Defensemen John Moore (shoulder) and James Wisniewski (foot) are out. … Red Wings forwards Todd Bertuzzi (back), Vallteri Filppula (upper body), Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (finger) and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) are out.

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