Osgood, Red Wings blank Blue Jackets

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- No need to hit the panic button,

Detroit fans. Despite some bad times, rocky times and nagging

question marks, the Red Wings are right back atop the heap.

Chris Osgood made 23 saves for his 49th career shutout, and the

Red Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-0, on Sunday to

become the first team in NHL history to top 100 points in nine

straight seasons.

"Obviously, to set an NHL record, it's phenomenal," coach Mike

Babcock said. "I've only been part of it for four years, (but

I'm) proud of the fact that for four years we've been over the

century mark."

Babcock then went on to single out general manager Ken Holland,

the Illitch family that owns the team and several veteran

players, noting the patience they've shown to build a perennial

powerhouse.

"That's beyond impressive," Babcock said. "When you look at

that, I'm proud for those people. For us, we're just trying to

get better and get prepared for the playoffs."

Osgood, who was struggling to find his form before the playoffs,

looked like his old self in his second shutout of the season.

"It seems like every (year) we end up in the same spot," said

Osgood, who tied longtime friend and teammate, Mike Vernon, for

11th on the career list with 385 victories.

"We've got a good core, a good group of guys. We know how to

fight through adversity. We know how to deal with the pressures

of playing in Detroit. We always know in the end that we're

going to be there and give ourselves a good chance to win in the

end."

The victory came eight days after the Blue Jackets humiliated

the reigning Stanley Cup champions 8-2 on their own ice, with

Osgood surrendering seven goals - also on 23 shots.

"Anytime you're embarrassed it is (motivation)," Babcock said.

"They're big boys, they're smart. They were up for the game.

They suffered humiliation, just like anybody else. We needed to

respond here today."

Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and an assist,

and Marian Hossa and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for Detroit,

the NHL leader with 101 points.

The Red Wings broke a tie with Montreal (1974-75 through

1981-82) for the NHL mark for consecutive 100-point seasons.

The loss ended the Blue Jackets' winning streaks at four overall

and three at home.

"We gave it to them last time and they showed us why they are

the best team in the league tonight," Blue Jackets captain Rick

Nash said.

Columbus came into the game alone in sixth place in the Western

Conference with 78 points, four ahead of Dallas and five in

front of Edmonton and Nashville. The Blue Jackets are striving

to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

The Red Wings played committed, efficient, almost desperate

hockey -- almost as if they also were fighting for a playoff

spot instead of playing out the string before their 17th

consecutive postseason trip.

Only 29 seconds in, the Red Wings found the back of the net --

although Brad Stuart's slap shot was waved off because teammate

Tomas Holmstrom was standing in the crease.

No matter. The Red Wings stayed on a roll.

Hossa streaked up the left wing past two defensemen and was able

to get off a shot on Detroit goalie Steve Mason. He then pounced

on the rebound and slid it between Mason's leg pads for his 35th

of the year.

Detroit had a two-man advantage when Kronwall took a drop pass

from Jiri Hudler and one-timed it past Mason from the left

point. Samuelsson then converted a turnover into his 18th of the

year before Franzen scored his 28th.

Osgood, meanwhile, was up to all challenges. He stopped R.J.

Umberger as he swooped in all alone in the second period, then

later blocked a Rick Nash wrister. In the third, he smothered

Kris Russell's blast on a delayed penalty.

"We played a real solid road game. We played smart, too," said

captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

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