Red Wings-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (30-12-3) at Columbus Blue Jackets (16-28-2).
TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Columbus Blue Jackets finally seem to be getting their act together. It remains to be seen if they can do the same against the Detroit Red Wings.
Columbus seeks its second three-game winning streak of the season when it hosts a Detroit team it has beaten only four times in 25 all-time meetings.
The first-place Red Wings, who lead the Blue Jackets by 29 points in the Central Division, have won all four games between the teams this season and are 20-4 with one tie in the series - including a 10-2 mark with one draw in Columbus.
The Blue Jackets, though, have won four straight at home and are 7-3-1 in their last 11 games overall.
In their 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday, Rick Nash scored the winner on a breakaway at 13:22 of the third period and Marc Denis made 33 saves.
Nash has 12 goals in 15 games since returning from a knee injury, and has nine goals and seven assists during a nine-game point streak.
"It was a great pass by (Nikolai) Zherdev," Nash said. "I kind of tipped it past the defenseman and came in and made a little move."
Columbus, which ranks near the bottom of the NHL in power-play efficiency, is 8-for-24 (33.3 percent) in its last five games with the man advantage. The Blue Jackets have scored 22 goals in those games.
"All of a sudden we're scoring goals," Denis said. "There's a feeling in this dressing room that no matter what the final score is going to be, we can be on top."
Denis has struggled against the Red Wings in his career, going 3-16-0 with one tie and a 3.60 goals-against average.
Detroit has won two straight and has a Western Conference-leading 63 points.
The Red Wings beat Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia 6-3 on Thursday, and got two goals from Brendan Shanahan and 21 saves from Manny Legace in a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday.
Shanahan ended a nine-game scoring drought, and his 22nd goal of the season at 5:48 of the final period broke a 2-2 tie.
"The last few games before I scored, the coaches really gave me a lot of positive feedback," said Shanahan, who had four assists against the Flyers. "They liked the way I was playing. They were giving me a lot of positive feedback, so I didn't worry about it."
Shanahan has 11 goals and 25 points in 25 games against the Blue Jackets, while Legace is 8-3-1 with a 1.98 GAA versus Columbus.
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit's leading scorer with 53 points, has three goals and four assists against the Blue Jackets this season - including consecutive three-point games at Columbus.
STANDINGS: Red Wings - 63 points, 1st place, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 34 points, 4th place, 29 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Shanahan and Henrik Zetterberg, 22 goals; Datsyuk, 35 assists and 53 points; Chris Chelios, 68 PIM. Blue Jackets - Zherdev, 13 goals; Bryan Berard, 18 assists; Zherdev and David Vyborny, 29 points; Jody Shelley, 100 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Red Wings - Power play: 24.7 percent (64 for 259), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (215 for 255), 8th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 13.8 percent (36 for 260), 27th. Penalty killing: 83.1 percent (260 for 313), 12th.
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (17-5-0, 3 SO, 2.15 GAA); Chris Osgood (12-5-3, 3.01). Blue Jackets - Denis (9-17-0, 1, 3.33); Pascal Leclaire (4-8-2, 3.49).
SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 4-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 31; Red Wings, 5-2. At Detroit, Nicklas Lidstrom and Mikael Samuelsson each scored twice for the Red Wings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 14-5-2 on the road; Blue Jackets - 10-11-0 at home.