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Red Wings try to snap skid vs. Blue Jackets

by Mike G. Morreale

BLUE JACKETS (4-10-2) at RED WINGS (7-6-3)


Last 10: Columbus 2-7-1; Detroit 4-4-2

Season series: This is the third of five meetings between the Central Division rivals, and the first at Joe Louis Arena. The teams split the previous two games at Nationwide Arena with Detroit scoring a 4-3 shootout decision on Jan. 21 and the Jackets earning a 4-2 victory two weeks later.

Big story: The Red Wings have certainly had their share of injuries this season. The hurt continued on Tuesday during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators when goalie Jimmy Howard suffered an upper-body injury midway through the first period and was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson. Gustavsson, sidelined almost a month with a sore groin, allowed two goals, including the winner in overtime. He was making his first relief appearance since the season opener in St. Louis. Additionally, forward Mikael Samuelsson also sat out the game after being struck in the left hand during the team's morning skate on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets are expected to meet their new general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen, on Wednesday in Detroit. The 46-year-old Kekalainen, hired Feb. 13 as the third GM in club history, was delayed while awaiting final approval on a work visa. Since beating Detroit on Feb. 2, the Blue Jackets have gone 1-5-1 in their last six games. Columbus is also 1-6-0 away from home, which is the worst in the League. The game against the Red Wings marks the fourth of a six-game road swing.

Red Wings: The Red Wings have lost four straight to drop to ninth in the Western Conference with 17 points. In an OT loss to the Predators on Tuesday, Daniel Cleary, Jordin Tootoo and Pavel Datsyuk scored goals, but the Red Wings never led in the game. Tootoo also dished out four hits in the loss. Datsyuk's goal in third to pull the visitors into a 3-3 tie was a thing of beauty, as he skated through four Nashville defenders and beat Pekka Rinne under his blocker arm with a wrist shot at 13:30.

Who's hot: Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin leads the Blue Jackets with 10 points, including a team-high nine assists. In two games against the Red Wings this season, he's had three assists. … Datsyuk has scored goals in five straight games, collecting five goals, eight points and a plus-3 rating in the span.

Injury report: Center Brandon Dubinsky (lower body) is out and center Artem Anisimov (bruised foot) and right wing Cam Atkinson (lower body) are both questionable for Columbus. … The Red Wings have five players on injured reserve: forwards Darren Helm (back), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Johan Franzen (hip), and defensemen Brendan Smith (shoulder) and Carlo Colaiacovo (collarbone). Howard is doubtful against the Blue Jackets.

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