COLUMBUS -- The Red Wings are getting everything they could hope for from their goaltenders.
Now they need more offense from all of their skaters and not just the forwards.
Facing a hot goaltender in Elvis Merzlikins, the Wings only mustered 16 shots in the 2-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets are 11-1-0 in their last 12 games against the Wings and 11-3-1 against them in the last 15 home games.
Michigan native Zach Werenski scored for the Blue Jackets, his first career goal in 12 games against his hometown team. Boone Jenner had the empty-net goal.
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard (2-21-2) made 42 saves.
Merzlikins (12-6-4) had 16 saves for his second straight shutout and fifth of his career.
Up next for the Wings is a Sunday afternoon game against the Boston Bruins at Little Caesars Arena.
The Blue Jackets complete their back-to-back set at home Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
1. Lack of offense: After breaking through for three goals in regulation against the Buffalo Sabres Friday night, the offense reverted to its previous form. In the two prior games, the Wings had been shut out by the New York Rangers, 1-0, and by the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0. It is the seventh time the Wings have been shut out this season. Being without Anthony Mantha for such a long period of time and losing Filip Zadina three games ago has certainly not helped. Playing the second night of a back-to-back against a rested Blue Jackets team did not help either, especially without Darren Helm, who sat with an injury, and losing defenseman Madison Bowey early. But no one was making any excuses after the game for getting only 16 shots.
Quotable: "You have to score goals to win and we didn't do that tonight, we didn't generate enough shots, I thought early we passed up a few too many, that was the story of the game. It was a close game but you got to score here to win. Their D are so good. Anytime you chip it in, and you don't have speed going in to put pressure on them, three strides and they're out of the zone. They're so smart, four of them back there. They just play heads up hockey and made it hard for us to generate. I thought we did get some chances and we played … we didn't test that goalie enough, we didn't get him moving enough." - Dylan Larkin
Quotable II: "They skated really well, especially that top pair (Seth) Jones and Werenski. I'd say they're probably the top D pair in the league, right up there. Both can stake, both big, both good sticks. They make it hard on you when they transition as they get up in the rush. They're a team that plays really well to their identity. They're opportunistic. They score a goal and get shots, but scoring chances I think if you looked at it were pretty even after the second period. We had a few power plays but the puck doesn't go in. It's one of those grind-it-out games, especially back to back." - Justin Abdelkader
Quotable III: "Certainly they spent time in our end and certainly that but we had tons of opportunities to shoot the puck. We didn't shoot enough. We had the chances after two periods at 10-9. That's a really close game. If you look at the shots, it's a really lopsided game. We didn't shoot the puck. If you get the two on ones, you gotta shoot the puck. You get opportunities to shoot it, you gotta shoot it. We cost ourselves a too-many-men penalty because we didn't shoot the puck, we didn't get it into an area where we could have shot it. We just gotta be better at that." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Jimmy Howard: Howard might not be top of mind with Jonathan Bernier's spectacular play of late but Howard has been much better in his last several appearances. Making his first start since Jan. 31 at New York against the Rangers, Howard was given a lot of work. Howard saved all 10 shots fired by the Blue Jackets in the first, including on former Wing Gustav Nyquist early in the period. Late in the period, Boone Jenner had a good chance at the front of the net but Howard was there. In the second, just as the Wings were finishing up one penalty kill, they had another infraction. On the delayed penalty, which lasted a full 1:35, Werenski was able to beat Howard from the right circle at 4:57. But it was the only one of the 21 shots in the second that got past him. In the third, Howard stopped Nick Foligno at the front of the net at 3:32, gloved a chance by Nyquist at 8:27, then stopped Werenski's blast at the 10-minute mark.
Quotable: "They just throws pucks at the net. They're one of those teams, they got big bodies up front and they like to work it down low, throw it to the middle and just crash … so a lot shots in tight and then second ones. I thought the guys competed really hard for me tonight." - Howard
Quotable II: "He gave us everything. He gave us a chance to win. He played great. That's a testament to his character, his work ethic. Things haven't been going his way and he came out and gave us a heck of a game. We got to come up for him at a time he needs us as well. He gave us everything and we didn't give him enough." - Larkin
Quotable III: "I thought Howie was good. I thought he was really good. Both goalies were good. I thought Howie stayed with it throughout the game. Obviously there was enough zone time there. They had the four power plays I think to none for lots of the game. That's taxing on a goalie, and I thought Howie played really well." - Blashill
3. Gustav Lindstrom: Not only were the Wings on the second night of a back-to-back road set, they lost defenseman Madison Bowey early in the first period. So that meant defensemen who played a lot Thursday night in Buffalo were not going to get a break in Columbus with just five of them left. Lindstrom, who made his debut Thursday night, went from 12:07 in his first game to 20:26 in his second game. Lindstrom had one shot, three hits, a takeaway, a blocked shot and was minus-1 in his 30 shifts. Certainly, he did not look out of place.
Quotable: "Losing battles hurt early. We were down to five D. I thought guys stepped in. I thought Lindy was good again tonight. He's a smart passer, a smart puck-mover. Hopefully he grows his game. We got to find an answer." - Larkin
Quotable II: "I got to play with him down in the American League on my conditioning stint, so he's got a calmness back there for a young kid, which is great to see. He's got poise with the puck. Nothing seems to rattle him and he's in position. He looks like he's a very promising player for the Red Wings." - Howard
Quotable III: "He's smart, he's competitive and he passes the puck well. That's how he was advertised and that's how he is. What you want is guys out there that make good decisions when they're out there. The game of hockey is super fluid. Guys gotta make good decisions. He made a lot of good decisions." - Blashill