Jimmy Howard had another clutch moment in net for the Red Wings securing them a win on the road. Veteran players contributed in their destruction of the Columbus Blue Jackets winning 3-1 at Nationwide Arena Thursday night.
While the Red Wings show struggle in their ranks, the players on back up answer their call to help the team climb back into the ranks for a secure playoff spot. Detroit lost a critical two points Tuesday when they failed to recover from Philadelphia’s four-goal mark. With injuries riddling their roster, Detroit added another player from Grand Rapids of the AHL.
The recent illness to Petr Mrazek brought up Jared Coreau to replace him as back up to Howard who earned the start against Columbus. With this being the second of a four game road trip, getting back on a winning streak is very important to secure their consecutive playoff streak.
The Red Wings made the first move on ice taking the puck to goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky where they produced four shots at the Columbus net. By the seventh minute of play, the Blue Jackets got things going with Cam Atkinson going in on Howard only to find little opportunity for a scoring chance. Detroit earned a power play but watched it slip away as their power play unit has had nothing but trouble converting on the man advantage.
After two minutes of even strength the Red Wings got lucky on the stick of Riley Sheahan as he fired a shot that went through the net with Andreas Anthanasiou putting great coverage on Bobrovsky for the early lead and Glendening’s tenth. It was the first time in ten games that Detroit had the lead hoping that this was the start of good things to come.
Another chance for the Red Wings to increase the lead arrived with seven minutes left. Despite blowing another power play, they were staying ahead of Columbus with their surge of offense in the finals minutes. The period came to a close with Detroit outshooting Columbus 9-4 and the score in hand.
The second period was slightly less active as both teams fought for possession but didn’t make great attempts on the opposing nets. While the Red Wings earned their time with the puck, searching for a second one against Bobrovsky was harder than it looked. It left the Red Wings once again frustrated while Columbus increased their attacks on Howard who came back into action for the first time in a week.
The Blue Jackets surpassed Detroit in the late stages of the period, but by the time 40 minutes were in the books, both the Red Wings and Blue Jackets were dead even on shots to the net but the Red Wings still held control.
The third was another fight for possession as the game was once again a one goal margin that the Red Wings saw themselves on top of for the first time in awhile. They dealt with getting things together while holding off Columbus, which in turn paid them huge dividends.
For veteran forward and Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg, scoring for his team gave the team another big lift on success. Justin Abdelkader brought the puck down the stick side of Bobrovsky before his pass back to the crease found Zetterberg open for his 13th of the season and the two goal margin that was so important for the Red Wings. For the captain, his goal tied him for eighth place with Brendan Shanahan who had 309 career goals.
Detroit made it 3-0 on Darren Helm’s contribution that was the biggest play for the Red Wings lineup. Helm worked his way into the shooting lane high on the slot where surrounding him were three Columbus defenders. With no worries on the shot, Helm got the puck high and into the net scoring his 11th.
With such a large margin and less than eight minutes left in play, the Columbus Blue Jackets were left desperately searching for a goal to prevent a shutout. It took the remainder of the game for them but in the last 60 seconds in regulation, Alexander Wennberg and his line mates worked the puck hard to give him a rebound shot that earned him his seventh. It was too little too late as they went down at home with Detroit back on the winning edge.
For Howard, it was another strong performance on the road as he stopped 27 on the Blue Jackets for his ninth win on the year. Though its not many his .964 save percentage and first string position looked secure for the time. He’ll likely see action again on Saturday when the Red Wings go south to face the division leading Florida Panthers.