By Christy Hammond
The Detroit Red Wings (46-15-9) clinched a spot in the postseason with a 4-0 shutout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets (36-28-6). The shutout was Chris Osgood‘s 49th of his career and the win moved him into a tie with former teammate Mike Vernon on the all-time goaltender wins list at No. 11. The victory also gave Detroit 100 points for a ninth straight season, becoming the first NHL team to do so. It also gave the Wings sole possession of the NHL lead in the standings.
It was a big game for Detroit not only because it was a back-to-back game against another team fighting for a playoff spot, but because the Blue Jackets had given the Wings problems last Saturday in an 8-2 loss at the Joe. Columbus has never won four straight over Detroit, nor has it won four games against the Wings in a single season and Detroit was able to keep that streak alive for another regular season. It was great to see two strong outings from Chris Osgood, a clicking offense, and solid defense. It was even better when the offense came against young goaltender Steve Mason and the defense prevented Rick Nash from scoring.
Marian Hossa tallied his 35th goal of the season 5:09 into the opening period. He grabbed the puck from the air, dropped it to the ice, carried the puck into the Columbus zone and out-muscled a Blue Jacket to get off a shot on Mason. Hossa’s speed and strength enabled him to snag the rebound and he then managed to get off another shot, which somehow found a way to squirt through an opening and into the net.
The Wings capitalized on a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity to make it 2-0 later in the first stanza. Jiri Hudler dished the puck from the left face-off dot to Niklas Kronwall, who one-timed a shot from the high slot that rocketed into the upper right corner of the net. Mason was unable to see Kronwall’s shot with Johan Franzen screening down low.
Mikael Samuelsson posted a goal late in the middle frame in an unassisted effort. His goal came on a Columbus turnover to give him his 18th marker of the season at 18:28.
Franzen padded Detroit’s lead 9:40 into the third period. Pavel Datsyuk had the puck in the mid-slot drawing four Blue Jackets, allowing him to slip a beauty of a backhanded pass to Franzen. The Mule popped the puck into the net to earn second star of the game honors.
The Wings head back to Detroit where they will host the Philadelphia Flyers on St. Patrick’s Day.