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#LGRW Daily: Red Wings look to shore up defensively Tuesday at Columbus

Red Wings and Blue Jackets split first series in Detroit on Jan. 18-19

by Alex DiFilippo @DetroitRedWings / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- Despite a 7-2 final score, the Detroit Red Wings' loss on Sunday night in Chicago was a one-goal affair for upwards of 40 minutes before the Blackhawks broke out in the third period for five goals.

Tightening up defensively for the full 60 minutes will be the focus of the Red Wings (7-14-3) as Detroit travels to Columbus (8-10-5) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to continue its four-game road trip and suit up for the first time this season at Nationwide Arena.

With Chicago holding a 2-1 lead after two periods on Sunday, coach Jeff Blashill said he was pleased with the effort through two frames, but said the Red Wings gave up too many high-quality chances in the third period due to tracking and sorting issues in the defensive zone.

"We don't have any room for error," Blashill said after Sunday's game. "We have to be close to great every night. When you're not great, you can't give up easy chances. That has to continue to be something that we understand as a hockey team - that we can't give up easy chances."

The Red Wings have won three of their last five games thanks to scoring from throughout the lineup, as nine different players have lit the lamp.

Detroit has also eclipsed 30 shots on goal in each of its last three games, including a season-high 46 shots on Sunday - the team's highest shot total since Nov. 21, 2013 against Carolina (47 shots). Across its last three games, the Red Wings' average of 36.7 shots is third-most in the NHL in the span.

As encouraging as the shot totals have been, winger Sam Gagner said the key will be returning to the team's defensive identity and not cheating for offense, especially when trailing. Columbus has been accustomed to playing with the lead this season, as the Blue Jackets have scored the first goal of the game an NHL-high 16 times in their 23 contests.

"Guys are doing what they can to create, but it can't be at the expense of our structure defensively," Gagner said. "When we have success, that's what drives it. We have to be sure we stick to our identity, regardless of what's happening in a game, and continue to press for 60 minutes."

The Red Wings and Blue Jackets split their first series of the season at Little Caesars Arena on Jan. 18-19, with Columbus taking the first meeting, 3-2, and Detroit earning an overtime win, 3-2, the following night. Detroit's victory in the second meeting snapped a five-game winless streak against Columbus.

Video: Bertuzzi nets winner in Red Wings' 3-2 OT win

After scoring with the man advantage in its last two games, the Red Wings look to keep the power play on track. Prior to Saturday's game at Chicago, Detroit had gone 15 games (0-for-40) without a power-play marker.

The Blue Jackets enter Tuesday winless in their last five games (0-4-1) and have dropped seven of their last eight (1-5-2), scoring only a combined two goals in their last three losses.

The Red Wings hope to return two of their top-six forwards on Tuesday who are both considered day-to-day with upper-body injuries. Captain Dylan Larkin didn't travel with the team over the weekend to Chicago and center Robby Fabbri was a game-time decision on Sunday night before being ruled out.

Detroit will wear its adidas Reverse Retro jerseys for the first time on Tuesday night. Fans can catch Tuesday's action on FOX Sports Detroit or Red Wings Radio Network, with puck drop set for 7 p.m.

 

Red Wings Storylines

• Red Wings netminder Jonathan Bernier has collected wins in three of his last four starts. Since returning from injury on Feb. 13, Bernier has posted a 0.937 save percentage, good for fifth in the NHL among netminders who have appeared in more than two games.

• Winger Bobby Ryan recorded a pair of goals in the first matchup of the season against the Blue Jackets on Jan. 18 and lit the lamp again the following night. Ryan currently leads Detroit with 12 points (6-6-12) and has recorded 32 points (16-16-32) in 39 career games against Columbus.

Video: CBJ@DET: Ryan buries bouncing puck, continues streak

• Rookie Evgeny Svechnikov had a goal in each of his first two games of the season over the weekend at Chicago -- notching his first of the year in his season debut on Saturday and recording a power-play goal on Sunday. Svechnikov has suited up in a total of 22 games for the Red Wings over the last four seasons, tallying four goals and three assists.

 

Scouting the Blue Jackets

• The Red Wings will get their first look at winger Patrik Laine in a Blue Jackets jersey after the No. 2 overall pick from the 2016 NHL Entry Draft was traded from the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 23. Laine has 10 points (6-4-10) in his first 13 games with the Blue Jackets and has recorded nine points (6-3-9) in eight career games against Detroit.

• Blueliner Seth Jones tallied 11 points (1-10-11) in 13 games in the month of February - ranking tied for third among NHL defensemen and tied for fifth among all skaters. Jones' 10 assists tied the franchise record for the most by a defenseman in a single calendar month.

• Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo is a perfect 5-0-0 in six career appearances against the Red Wings. The Finnish netminder has been strong in his last three starts, posting a 2.03 goals-against average and a 0.932 save percentage, despite all three starts resulting in losses (0-3-0).

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