The Columbus Blue Jackets may be in a familiar spot at the bottom of the standings, but tonight they face a struggling Detroit Red Wings team that they have had success against this season. One of the Blue Jackets’ four wins and three of their ten points have come against the Central Division rival Red Wings this season, as this Columbus team seems to play better against better teams.
The Blue Jackets bring a three-game losing streak into tonight’s game, while the Red Wings have dropped four straight. If there was ever a game for Columbus to get back on track it is tonight’s showdown with an injury-riddled Detroit team.
Sergei Bobrovsky played well in the first meeting between the two teams but suffered the 4-3 shootout loss. Steve Mason fared better in a Feb. 2 meeting between the two teams, getting a 4-2 win behind a 32-save performance and two goals from Artem Anisimov. Bobrovsky will get the start tonight and the Wings will roll out Jimmy Howard; Bobrovsky no doubt wants to bounce back after losing his last five starts.
Columbus will want to pay extra attention to Red Wings star center Pavel Datsyuk, who has six points in his last four games against the Blue Jackets. Improving a power play that has only been successful once on the current road trip would be a must for the Blue Jackets to be competitive in this game. Detroit’s penalty kill has dropped to 25th in the league so, again, a great opportunity for Columbus to strike tonight. After tonight, the two teams meet in two more games, Mar. 9-10 in a home-and-home weekend swing.