DETROIT – The Columbus Blue Jackets had success on the ice and got some relatively good news off it.
Vinny Prospal scored with 24.7 seconds left, capping a comeback that lifted Columbus to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
The game took a frightening turn early in the second period when Blue Jackets centre Artem Anisimov was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being struck in the head by Red Wings defenceman Kyle Quincey.
Anisimov, a 24-year-old Russian, was alert and able to move when he was taken to Detroit Medical Center as a precaution because he said his head hurt.
“He’s alert and stable,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. “Obviously, that’s great news.”
Anisimov was skating toward the back of Detroit’s net alongside Red Wings defenceman Ian White when he lost his balance as Quincey landed a blow to his head that didn’t seem intentional.
“It’s scary for players when somebody gets hurt like that,” Richards said. “Injuries are part of the game and that starts to creep in a little bit, but I thought our guys refocused.”
Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula scored in the first 2-plus minutes of the game to put Detroit ahead by two, a cushion it wasted for a third time during its five-game losing streak.
“We talked about we want to have a good start, and we do,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Now, we just got to find a way to finish it off.”
R.J. Umberger’s power-play goal a couple of minutes after Detroit took its two-goal lead pulled Columbus within one. Derek Dorsett tied it early in the third period.
Prospal’s backhander off crisp, cross-ice passes from James Wisniewski and Dorsett ended the Blue Jackets’ three-game losing streak.
“We were all in the positions where we were supposed to be and we made a good play,” Prospal said. “The puck bounced my way, just a give-and-go with Dorsett. It was a clear-cut, three-on-two (rush) and we played it the way you are supposed to play it. When you get an odd-man rush, it should end up in the net.
“For me to score that goal, it’s just a great feeling.”
Sergei Bobrovsky had to feel good, too, after Detroit scored on its first and third shots against him. He bounced back to finish with 28 saves, including some midway through the third when teammates were called for consecutive penalties.
“We basically went four minutes straight with killing penalties, and that’s when Bobry stood tall,” Richards said.
Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots for the Red Wings.
Early on, Detroit seemed to take advantage of playing a team that started the game with an NHL-low 10 points.
Brunner whiffed on a wraparound attempt and still had time to stuff the puck past Bobrovsky just 18 seconds into the game. Filppula redirected Brian Lashoff’s shot with his stick, sending the puck low and between Bobrovsky’s pads.
The Red Wings, though, showed that a two-goal lead isn’t safe for their rebuilding team that is missing former defencemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart.
“When we got up 2-nothing, we fooled around a little bit,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Jordin Tootoo picked a fight with Dorsett, who looked as though he was about to tangle with Jonathan Ericsson.
“Me and Ericsson were going to fight, we were backing up,” Dorsett said. “Tootoo was being himself and came in swinging, being the cheap player that he is. In my mind he should have gotten a suspension. Tootoo is a pretty irrelevant player.”
The Blue Jackets took advantage of a power play they got because the Detroit enforcer was given an instigation penalty and a misconduct. The extra space, and skater, allowed Umberger to get to a loose puck in front of Howard and poke it past him.
“That power play gave us some life and got us back into it,” Richards said.
Tootoo drew Dorsett into an interference penalty midway through the game, but the Red Wings didn’t take advantage of the power play or the two-man advantage they had briefly midway through the third.
“Whether it was a dive or not, you just can’t put yourself in that position,” Richards said.
NOTES: Dorsett had what’s known as a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, assist and fight. … Detroit has lost five straight for the first time since dropping six in a row from March 10-21 of last season. … The teams split the first two games of their series this season, both of which were in Columbus. … Quincey skated off the ice following the collision with Anisimov and went to Detroit’s dressing room with an ankle injury. He didn’t return.