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Wings aim for home-and-home sweep of Jackets

by John Kreiser

BLUE JACKETS (14-7-0) at RED WINGS (14-4-2)

TV -- FS-Ohio; FS-Detroit

Last 10 -- Columbus 7-3-0; Detroit 7-2-1

Season series -- It's the second meeting of the season between the Central Division rivals -- and the second in three nights. Detroit went into Columbus on Friday and left the sellout crowd disappointed by edging the Jackets 2-1.

Big story -- It's no surprise that the Wings are on top of the Central Division. But the fact that the team closest to them is Columbus, which made few changes other than bringing in Scott Arniel as coach, is a big surprise. The Jackets are trying to earn a split in their home-and-home series, but it won't be easy: They are just 6-20-0-2 all-time at Joe Louis Arena in the regular season.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets -- Columbus came up short on the scoreboard Friday night, but not because of a lack of effort. Their coach was pleased with just about everything but the final score.

"I thought we played a heck of a hockey game," Arniel said after the Wings ended Columbus' five-game winning streak, one short of the franchise record. "We got their A-game, and I just thought we went stride for stride and toe-to-toe."

Red Wings -- Mike Modano's return to Michigan as a member of the Red Wings could be very short-lived. Modano underwent wrist surgery on Saturday to repair a severed tendon after he was accidentally cut by R.J. Umberger's skate during Friday night's game.

Modano had 2 goals and 8 points in 20 games, but had been playing better recently.

"It's a big loss," linemate Danny Cleary told "It took some time to get used to everybody. He got himself in skating condition. He's been playing great. He's going to be missed for sure."

The Wings hope he can return for the playoffs, but there's no guarantee he'll be back by then.

"The big thing is that we got him here to help us at playoff time, and he's going to have that opportunity," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Saturday. "But it's important he doesn't lose touch with the team and stays involved and keeps coming to grips with how we play and what we do because that'll help him.

Who's hot -- Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who stopped 34 shots in the win Friday night, is 6-0-1 lifetime against Columbus with a 1.31 goals-against average and one shutout. …

Injury report -- In addition to Modano, the Wings are still without goalie Chris Osgood (groin) and center Kris Draper (abdominal surgery). They are hoping both will be ready for this week's trip to California. … Columbus is without forwards Kristian Huselius (high ankle sprain) and Ethan Moreau (broken hand), and defenseman Mark Methot has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury.

Stat pack -- The last six meetings between the teams have all been decided by one goal -- with Detroit winning five of the six. Overall, Detroit is 42-10-1-5 against Columbus -- a figure that doesn't include a four-game sweep in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Puck drop -- Columbus has dropped seven of its last eight visits to Detroit, and the Wings are 9-1-2 at home. But the Blue Jackets are a League-best 8-1-0 away from Nationwide Arena, and this is the kind of game they have to win in order to show that they have the potential to be a contender all season long.

"We know we're a good team. They're a good team, too, but we can play with anybody," Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch. "We can play physical with anybody. We can move the puck up the ice against anybody. We're for real and people are going to start realizing it."

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