Tue, 30 Nov 2021

Unbeaten Blue Jackets try to clip Red Wings in Detroit

Field Level Media
19 Oct 2021, 04:40 GMT+10

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings tied for last place in the Central Division last season. Their head-to-head matchups were nearly a draw as well, with the Blue Jackets winning the season series 4-3-1.

They'll play for the first time this season in Detroit on Tuesday night.

Columbus has won its first two games, thumping the Arizona Coyotes 8-2 and squeaking past the expansion Seattle Kraken 2-1 in overtime.

"I liked as a team that we grinded this one out, that we had to stick with it," Blue Jackets first-year coach Brad Larsen said. "We had to really dig deep to try to come back in the third period here. It was a 1-0 game going to the third, so one shot away. We just said, don't get frustrated, don't implode ourselves here, stick to the plan. I liked our third."

Patrik Laine scored the game-winner after contributing two assists in the opener. The Blue Jackets expect Laine to rebound from a down season in which he only scored 12 goals in 46 games after being acquired from Winnipeg. He averaged 34.5 goals in his first four seasons.

"I have seen a different guy. You can feel it," Larsen said. "He worked at it this summer. He got himself in better shape, and he has a little chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove to everybody that he still has a lot of game."

Laine had no goals and three assists in six appearances against the Red Wings last season.

"When you work hard, it's just a matter of time until you get one, and hopefully we're going to get plenty more," Laine said.

The Blue Jackets will be playing their first road game of the season.

Detroit defeated Vancouver 3-1 on Saturday as Thomas Greiss made 40 saves. The Red Wings bounced back from a season-opening collapse against two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay, as the Lightning scored three goals late in regulation and won in overtime 7-6.

"What happened in the first game, when we gave up two three-goal leads, it's not something we wanted to repeat," Detroit defenseman Marc Staal said. "I thought we were smarter with the puck; we were more composed with it. We just did things to win a hockey game. It was a much better effort in that regard than the first one."

Team captain Dylan Larkin will return from a one-game suspension on Tuesday. He retaliated by throwing a punch after getting shoved into the boards during the opener.

There also were a number of chippy incidents and scrums during the game against the Canucks.

"When you have a chip on your shoulder, sometimes things like this happen. That's fine," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "We want to make sure we're playing with that highly competitive nature. That's the way we're going to be successful. You only win when you really care about each other. We want to be a unit that comes every single day and fights together and wins together."

The Wings are trying to take advantage of a four-game homestand to start the season. They'll host Calgary on Thursday before playing seven of their next eight games on the road.

--Field Level Media

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