DETROIT, Michigan -- Even with Steve Yzerman out of the game with a badly bruised foot for a projected one to two weeks, the Red Wings still have plenty of offense and defense to go around. The Columbus Blue Jackets learned this the hard way, going down 5-1.
Mathieu Dandenault took an early lead for his team 7:02 into the first period. Lyle Odelein sent the puck around his own net trying to keep it away from the Red Wings, but Dandenault got to it and shot it towards the net. The puck bounced off a Columbus defenseman's skate, off the back boards, and straight back to Dandenault's stick. He was then able to slide the puck under goaltender Marc Denis.
The Blue Jackets tied up the game just a few moments later. Grant Marshall shot the puck at Manny Legace from the right point. Legace flopped down to blocked the shot, but the rebound slipped away, and Michael Sillinger was able to snatch it up and flip the puck into the net.
Luc Robitaille regained the lead for the Red Wings six and a half minutes before the end of the period, while Rostislav Klesla was serving a minor penalty for elbowing. Brendan Shanahan put the puck on the net, and Tomas Holmstrom tried to tip it in, but the puck came free to Robitaille at the left side, and he sent it into the net behind Denis.
The second period was all downhill for the Blue Jackets, as the Red Wings scored twice to increase their lead. Just over five minutes in, Brett Hull and Pavel Datsyuk got a two-on-one breakaway. Hull passed left to Datsyuk, and Datsyuk faked to the left to lure Denis, then stuffed the puck in on the right side.
Columbus's woes increased when Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Lidstrom carried the puck in front of the net and left the pass for Shanahan, and Shanahan sent a quick wrist shot flying past Denis to become the first Red Wing to reach the twenty goal mark this season, making this the fourteenth consecutive season in which he has scored twenty or more goals.
The Red Wings essentially wrapped up the game early in the third period, in the last second of a penalty to Lyle Odelein carried over from the end of the second period. Lidstrom fired a hard shot from the blue line, and rookie Sean Avery tipped it into the net, to score his first NHL goal.
Columbus attempted to play harder and score again, but the Detroit defense was able to keep them away from the net, and Legace stopped any shots which came near him. The game ended with Legace having stopped twenty-seven of twnety-eight shots, and Denis having stopped twenty-eight of the thirty-three he was bombarded with.
The Red Wings will next travel south to Nashville to face the Predators on Friday night.