The Blue Jackets started the game strongly, outshooting Detroit by the considerable margin of 18 to 11 in the first period. Legace was solid and kept the Red Wings in the game with some big saves, which gave Detroit the chance to open the scoring.
Kirk Maltby took a shot against Columbus goaltender Marc Denis from the right circle. The shot changed direction off the stick of Rastislav Klesla, so Denis wasn’t able to stop it cleanly. The rebound came out to Kris Draper, who flipped it into the net.
Hull scored his first of the game just two minutes later. Pavel Datsyuk centered the puck from the right boards, and Hull one-timed it past Denis on the short side.
Columbus continued to press, but Legace held them off with big saves against Rick Nash and Geoff Sanderson with only a few seconds left in the period.
The Red Wings came to their goalie’s aid and took control of the game in the second period, not letting the Blue Jackets get a chance to set up any good scoring chances. Tomas Holmstrom increased the lead with a power play goal five minutes in. Denis stopped the first shot by Nicklas Lidstrom, and the rebound shot by Steve Yzerman, but Holmstrom was able to whack the second rebound into the net.
Hull’s second goal of the night came a few minutes later. David Vyborny turned the puck over at his own blue line, and Hull scooped it up to take a quick shot which went right through Denis.
The Blue Jackets finally got on the board during a penalty to Jiri Fischer early in the third. Sanderson’s shot from in front of the crease bounced off the goal post and off Legace’s shin pad before trickling across the goal line.
Columbus gained a lot of momentum from that goal, and they pressed hard offensively after that. Legace was challenged to make some vital saves until the Red Wings could regain control of the game’s flow.
Steve Thomas took advantage of another Columbus turnover to put the game out of reach for good. Jaroslav Spacek’s clearing attempt bounced off Thomas and back into the zone, and Thomas was away with it, putting a high shot over Denis from just in front of the net.
Detroit outshot Columbus by a final count of 42-38. The Red Wings and Blue Jackets will finish up their home and home series tomorrow night in Columbus.
Darren McCarty was officially placed on the injured reserve list today due to his back spasms, and forward Mark Mowers was called up from the Griffins…. Dominik Hasek and Ray Whitney both sat out this game with groin injuries…. Datsyuk’s assist on Hull’s first goal was his 100th career point.