The last time the Detroit Red Wings took on the Columbus Blue Jackets, it left us all wondering if it was time to slam on the panic button. It was Detroit’s third consecutive loss, and it came against a beatable team. This time around, the Wings were in the same position but acted on it in much better fashion, easily skating home with a 3-1 win.
After outshooting the Jackets by a healthy margin to open the period, the Wings struck first on a gorgeous play by a line known more for preventing goals than scoring them. Andreas Athanasiou left Riley Sheahan a drop pass while Luke Glendening parked in front of the net to screen Sergei Bobrovsky. The screen couldn’t have been more welcome, as Glendening’s knee redirected the puck into the back of the net.
Scoring hit a stand still at that point, but Henrik Zetterberg used a rebound set up by Justin Abdelkader to bury home his 309th goal as a Red Wing, tying Brendan Shanahan for 8th on the team’s all-time list while, more importantly, putting the present group up by two. Five minutes later, Darren Helm offered just a bit more insurance, using his speed to power into the offensive zone, moving in between Columbus’ defenders, and ripping a knuckler past Bobrovsky.
It wasn’t all good news, though. Many hearts were broken when Jimmy Howard’s shutout bid was snapped with a minute to go. It was truly a shame, seeing as Howard stopped 27 other shots on the night and was a huge reason the team came out on top, but with Brendan Smith in the box and his teammates being gassed, it a late-game powerplay tally was inevitable for Columbus. Thankfully, it was just the one, and the Wings were able to safely return to the second wildcard spot in the East.
Motor City MVP
We criticize Luke Glendening a lot, and I don’t think that those criticisms are unfounded, but he gets a pass and a thumbs up tonight. Despite being hemmed into the defensive zone (15.4% zone starts), Glendening had the third best possession numbers on the team (57.9%) and redirected in the opening goal. That’s a great look for a guy who’s having a rough go at it of late.
See You Next Time
The Red Wings are back in a playoff spot, but can they hold on to it this time? The first step would be a big win on Saturday against the Florida Panthers, in Sunrise. The Panthers are coming off a 4-1 victory against the Maple Leafs tonight and will have Kevin Spacey cheering them on, but if there’s any team that can take on a vet-led group of misfits, it’s the Red Wings. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM.