A week that started off with the Detroit Red Wings coming just minutes away from ending the Chicago Blackhawks’ point streak ended on a sour note Saturday afternoon, as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Red Wings for a third consecutive time. Detroit took the Blackhawks to a shootout on Sunday and got wins over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, but can’t seem to figure out the basement-dwelling Blue Jackets.
The Red Wings turned to backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson in net on Saturday, giving the overworked Jimmy Howard a day off. Gustavsson made 21 saves on 24 shots and got no help from his team at the other end of the ice. The Red Wings have still not scored a power play goal on the road this season, and were 0-for-3 on Sunday. Since a 4-3 shootout win over Columbus on Jan. 21, the Red Wings have generated little offense against their division foe, making Blue Jackets goalies Steve Mason and Sergei Bobrovsky look like they belong among the league’s best. The Red Wings have given up at least one power play goal to the Blue Jackets in each of their four meetings this season, yet have nothing to show for the 19 chances they have had with the man-advantage over that stretch of games. Both special teams units for the Wings rank in the bottom six in the entire league.
The Blue Jackets got a 4-2 win over the Red Wings on Feb. 2, a 3-2 win on Feb. 21 and the shutout win today. The two teams will meet again tomorrow, with Howard back in net, and the Red Wings will try to finally figure out why they struggle so much against the Blue Jackets.