The Detroit Red Wings swept the home-and-home series against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight with a 4-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena. The win expands the Wings lead over the Blue Jackets to four points in the Central Division.
The Blue Jackets took the lead late in the first period when Derick Brassard deflected a shot from Anton Stalman over Wings goalie Jimmy Howard’s shoulder.
Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason kept his team on top with some big saves until giving up two goals in 14 seconds halfway through the second period. Niklas Kronwall tied the game poking the puck past Mason. It was Kronwall’s fifth goal of the season. Darren Helm gave the Wings the lead with his second of the season moments later when his wrist shot beat Mason.
Valterri Filppula netted the game-winner when he scored just 52 seconds into the third period. It was his sixth goal of the season, and his second game-winner in as many games. The Wings line of Filppula, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen scored three goals and were a +3 in the two games against the Blue Jackets this weekend.
After a late goal from Blue Jackets forward Antoine Vermette closed the gap to 3-2 with 90 seconds left, Danny Cleary scored an empty net goal to seal the victory for the Red Wings.
Howard had another solid effort against the Blue Jackets. He turned away 27 shots for his thirteenth victory of the season. It was Howard’s twelfth start in a row, but with Chris Osgood possibly returning this week Howard might get a night off soon.
With the loss of Mike Modano indefinitely after having surgery on his right wrist the Red Wings will be looking for help filling the void left by Modano’s absence. Modano suffered the injury Friday night after getting hit by a skate on the wrist.
The team will not be calling anyone up from Grand Rapids because they have been carrying extra forwards this season. Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves have been rotating on the team’s fourth line, and those two will get playing time until the return of Kris Draper sometime this week.
It will be up to the likes of Filppula and Jiri Hudler to fill that void this season, and it looks like Filppula may be up to the task. Coach Mike Babcock is hoping that the extra playing time for Hudler may get the struggling center going this season. Hudler has one goal and is -5 this season.
The Red Wings will make their first trip out to California this week starting with a game against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
About the Author
Written by Jeremy Klumpp
I am a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Electronic Media and Film. For two years I wrote a baseball blog, "Ground Rule Double," and have contributed to a book on the 1968 Detroit Tigers. If you want to read my non-sports thoughts head to jklumpp1.posterous.com.