Blue Jackets-Red Wings Preview
Detroit's probably thrilled to be returning home even if it's just for one game, and Columbus might normally strike the Red Wings as one of the more opportune teams to be doing so against.
But the Blue Jackets visit Detroit on Tuesday night having won a season-best three straight on the road, and the Red Wings haven't had much success in the series recently regardless of venue.
The Red Wings (29-20-11) are in danger of their first five-game losing streak of the season, though they at least get a break from hearing about their six-game road skid. The 0-2-2 overall stretch includes six goals scored and an 0-for-11 mark on the power play.
"We got to be better, too, to get pucks to the net," center Henrik Zetterberg told the team's official website. "It's not always from the point, maybe we have to get it from down low, too, to create some more chaos in front of the net."
While Detroit got top goal scorer Dylan Larkin back from illness in Sunday's 1-0 overtime loss to the New York Rangers, No. 2 scorer Tomas Tatar went a seventh straight game without a point, which is tied for the longest stretch he's posted in his three full seasons.
The shutout wasted a strong effort from Jimmy Howard, who made 29 saves but fell to 0-5-4 with a 3.52 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in 11 games since last winning Dec. 3. His teammates, however, took notice in this effort.
"Throughout the 11 years, that might have been the best game I've ever seen him play," defenseman Kyle Quincy said. "He had such a great game. Hopefully he can keep going. If he does that, we're in great shape."
Howard has posted shutouts in two of his last three against Columbus but settled for a 1-1-1 record.
Teammate Petr Mrazek has struggled lately, going 1-1-1 with a 4.20 GAA and .852 save percentage.
Columbus (24-29-7) has won eight of the last 10 meetings, including the past two. Those were both played in Detroit with the Red Wings totaling one goal.
What Zetterberg discussed is about how the Blue Jackets managed Monday's 6-4 win in Boston before seeing the Red Wings for the first of three times in just over three weeks.
"We just threw a bunch of pucks in there, power play, even strength, and we got a couple of goals that way," defenseman Ryan Murray told the team's official website. "Our forwards did a great job of getting in front of their goalie and it helped us out offensively. We played with a lot of speed, our forwards were coming back fast and that's hard to defend against."
Boone Jenner scored two goals for the second time in four games, pushing him five past his previous career high of 16. He's still one behind Brandon Saad's team-leading 22, which the first-year Blue Jacket reached Monday. He's one short of last season's career high.
Over a 3-1-2 span, Columbus has averaged 34.5 shots after averaging 28.5 through the first 54.
"It's something we've been preaching the last few weeks," forward Matt Calvert said. "We never had enough shots. I think during our last little streak here we've been throwing a lot of pucks at the net. You get the bounces that way."
Joonas Korpisalo allowed four goals for the second straight game, though he too has seen plenty of fire lately, posting a 2.34 GAA and .929 save percentage on an average of 33.5 shots over a 5-1-2 span.