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Red Wings-Blue Jackets Preview

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GAME: Detroit Red Wings (53-15-8) at Columbus Blue Jackets (32-40-4).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.

The only thing standing between the Detroit Red Wings and the top seed in the Western Conference is the Columbus Blue Jackets.

A win in the second game of a home-and-home series on Saturday at Nationwide Arena would put further distance between the Red Wings and the second-place Dallas Stars. The Stars, who visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, trail Detroit by nine points with five games left.

Detroit got closer to clinching the top spot in the conference for the second consecutive season after winning 6-5 in a shootout over Columbus on Friday.

"It's nerve-racking, especially after you've played awful in net during the night and then have a shootout," Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace said after making 31 saves in the game and five more in the shootout.

Second-leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg left Friday's win in the second period with an upper body injury and underwent precautionary tests at a hospital - his status is uncertain. He may join leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk (lower body injury) and Mathieu Schneider (groin) as spectators for Saturday's contest.

Detroit is also chasing its second consecutive Presidents' Trophy, holding a six-point advantage on Eastern Conference leaders Ottawa and Carolina.

With a victory the Red Wings would eclipse the NHL record of 28 road wins, set by the 1998-99 New Jersey Devils. They have already secured their fifth Central Division title in a row.

Detroit has won six of its last eight games overall, with the two losses coming in shootouts to Columbus and Chicago.

The Blue Jackets saw their franchise-record six-game winning streak come to an end against the Red Wings, despite Rick Nash's first-career hat trick.

Columbus has been eliminated from the playoff race, but has played the spoiler role well. They defeated Detroit, the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators during their winning streak.

STANDINGS: Red Wings - 114 points, 1st place, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 68 points, 3rd place, 46 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Zetterberg, 36 goals; Nicklas Lidstrom, 61 assists; Datsyuk, 87 points; Chris Chelios, 106 PIM. Blue Jackets - Nash, 29 goals; David Vyborny, 38 assists and 56 points; Jody Shelley, 149 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 6): Red Wings - Power play: 22.9 percent (97 for 424), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (368 for 430), 3rd. Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.2 percent (60 for 424), 29th. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (399 for 489), 19th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (34-8-3, 6 SO, 2.22 GAA); Chris Osgood (18-5-5, 2, 2.70). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (19-25-0, 1, 3.27); Pascal Leclaire (10-13-3, 0, 3.28).

SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 6-1.

LAST MEETING: April 7; Red Wings, 6-5 (SO). At Detroit, Thomas Holmstrom scored the only goal in the fifth shootout round. Nash scored with 32 seconds remaining in regulations to tie the game.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 28-6-3 on the road; Blue Jackets - 20-17-0 at home.

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