NHL Preview: Detroit vs. Columbus

At one point earlier in the season, just a few points separated the Detroit Red Wings (27-11-5, 59 points) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (20-20-3, 43 points) but the Wings have surged ahead to second in the NHL’s western conference while the Blue Jackets, as they typically do, have fallen back to the bottom of the pack and now rank 13th out of 15th in the west.

Columbus has lost five straight and are just 3-7 in their past ten games. Why? Scoring has not been an issue with Olympian Rick Nash (20), center R.J. Umberger (14) and center Antoine Vernette (9) providing plenty of punch but defense has been a real problem. The Blue Jackets have surrendered 134 goals, next to last in the west, and Steve Mason has not been the answer.

In Detroit, it is a return of business as usual. The Wings have scored the most goals in the Western Conference and have been led by familiar names such as Zetterberg, Lidstrom, and Datsyuk. This year, Dan Cleary has added goal scoring to his repertoire and Jimmy Howard has been solid in goal.

Detroit has the most road wins in the west so don’t be shocked if they climb another two points in the standings.

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