By Christy Hammond
The Detroit Red Wings (43-15-8) allowed eight goals for a consecutive Saturday, resulting in an 8-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets (33-27-6) at Joe Louis Arena.
The eight markers scored by the Blue Jackets were a franchise best. If the playoffs were to have begun before Saturday’s game, Detroit and Columbus would have played one another in the first round. After tonight’s fiasco, it’s pretty clear to see that the Blue Jackets could give us quite a hard time in the postseason.
20-year-old goaltender Steve Mason stopped 44 shots (yes, the Wings did outshoot Columbus 46-28 and still lost by a six-goal margin). Forward captain Rick Nash posted his second hat trick against Detroit this season. It was the first time that Nash has registered three unassisted goals in a single game, one of which was a shorthanded marker tonight.
Yes, Chris Osgood allowed seven goals on just 23 shots but it wasn’t all his fault. After Osgood allowed the seventh goal 3:25 into the third period, Head Coach Mike Babcock inserted Ty Conklin into goal.
Detroit gave away the puck 14 times in the loss. The top defensive pair of captain Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski each ended the night with a minus-three. Only Kris Draper finished the night above an even plus/minus with a plus-one.
I’m not going to describe each Columbus goal since I know none of you Wings fans want to actually read that so let’s recall the positive moments of the night.
The Wings first goal came at 17:12 in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk made a perfect pass from the bottom of the right faceoff circle to line mate Henrik Zetterberg, who was skating parallel to Datsyuk up the slot. He put it in for his 26th goal of the season in an effort to redeem himself for the bad turnover that had led to a Columbus goal less than two minutes earlier. Hank finished the night with a team-worst minus-four.
Fan favorite Aaron Downey scored his first goal in 59 games with the Detroit Red Wings spanning back to the start of the 2007-08 season. He tipped in a shot by Derek Meech at 5:32 in the third period to make it a 7-2 game at the time. In his three-game stint with the Wings, Downey has a goal and an assist on top of a fight that lasted over a minute and a half. Not too shabby for the enforcer.
The Wings will have a couple days to mull over this loss before they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday evening.