Going into this weekend, it seemed like the Detroit Red Wings were in for a serious fight to hold off the latest upstart threats to their Central Division throne, the Columbus Blue Jackets. While it’s far too early to say that the battle is over, sweeping the two teams’ home-and-home series clearly makes Detroit the cream of the crop. (As usual.)
The Red Wings showered shot after shot on Steve Mason in today’s game and while the young goalie was pretty strong (he stopped 38 out of 41 shots), he couldn’t shut down the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
After Derick Brassard gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead, Detroit scored three unanswered goals (Niklas Kronwall, Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula). Kronwall and Helm actually scored their goals just 14 seconds apart. Antonie Vermette brought Columbus within one by scoring on the power play with about 1:30 left in the third, but Danny Cleary scored an empty-netter to clinch it.
Jimmy Howard made 27 saves to earn the team’s second straight win and improve their home record to an astounding 10-1-2.
The Red Wings now have a four point lead over the Blue Jackets, with one more win and a game in hand. The only thing that’s really going against Detroit right now is that they’ve played 13 out of 21 games at home, so they’re going to have to hold their lead on the road. (This is more of a big picture problem, though, as Columbus played 12 games at home to 10 on the road.)