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Wings aim to continue dominance of Jackets

by Mike Battaglino

RED WINGS (4-2-1) at BLUE JACKETS (2-5-1)

TV: FS-Detroit, FS-Ohio

Season series: The Wings won the first meeting Jan. 21, 4-3 in a shootout, with rookie Damien Brunner scoring the winner on a highlight-reel attempt. Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves.

They play again Feb. 21 before wrapping up with a home-and-home March 9-10. Detroit is 14-3-2 against Columbus since 2009-10.

Big story: The Red Wings were alternating a loss and a win before getting their second straight victory, 5-3 over the St. Louis Blues, on Friday at Joe Louis Arena.

The Blue Jackets are off to a better start than last season's 0-7-1 beginning, but remain near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

"We're playing Saturday against another good team so we just need to play on our toes and take it to them and bring our intensity," Derrick Brassard told the team's website. "We just need to bring our game to them."

Team Scope:

Red Wings: After losing the opener 6-0 to the Blues, the Red Wings let a 2-0 lead get away in the rematch before scoring the final three goals Friday, the last an empty-net shorthanded score that completed a Henrik Zetterberg hat trick.

"It was a big win for us," coach Mike Babcock said. "I believe it's going to give us a confidence boost, and we're going to keep getting better."

Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have combined for 21 points in a 4-1-1 stretch, proving again as they go, so go the Red Wings.

"I hear a lot about the things we don't have, but I don't know how many teams have Pav and Z," Babcock said. "And that's a pretty good starting point for me. ... We're not going away here."

Goalie Jimmy Howard has started every game to date; with backups Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and Joey MacDonald (back) hurting, Tom McCollum could play his second NHL game.

Blue Jackets: Columbus spent Friday lamenting its slow starts to games; the Blue Jackets have been outscored 10-2 in the first period this season, 8-1 in the past five games and 5-0 in the most recent two.

"Something has got to change," Derek Dorsett told the Columbus Dispatch. "Our first periods have been horrendous. We've been chasing from behind, and it mentally drains you, makes you a fragile group. … We have to be ready to go when the puck drops. I don't know what the solution is, but we have to figure it out as a group."

Columbus has been outscored 16-12 in the remaining two periods, plus two scoreless overtimes.

"I think we just need to relax," Brassard said. "Just relax, make plays, play as a unit of five on the ice, come back to the puck, good transition from defense to offense. Just relax out there."

Who's hot: Zetterberg has five goals and 12 points during a six-game point streak. Datsyuk has nine points and defenseman Niklas Kronwall has six assists in that time. … Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski has a point on three of the team's four goals in the past three games. … Defenseman Fedor Tyutin leads Columbus with five points.

Injury report: The Red Wings have several players sidelined: Gustavsson, MacDonald, Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Darren Helm (back), Jan Mursak (collarbone), Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Ian White (leg laceration). … Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin (upper body) and Adrian Aucoin (lower body) were scratched Thursday. Matt Calvert (upper body) and Cam Atkinson (lower body) are on injured reserve.

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