Dan Cleary scored the winning goal with 5:19 left to complete his first career three-goal game and help Detroit rally for a 7-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. “Obviously we didn’t play great at the start of the third,” said Cleary, who has a career-high 17 goals. “We kept pushing and stayed with it.”
Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist for Detroit, winners of five of their last seven. Henrik Zetterberg and Danny Markov each had a goal and an assist. Robert Lang assisted on all three of Cleary’s goals, and Brett Lebda had two assists.
David Vyborny had a goal and an assist for Columbus, which scored four straight goals to pull ahead 4-3 early in the final period. Ron Hainsey, Dan Fritsche and Adam Foote also scored.
“Obviously things were going wrong,” Babcock said. “It would have been easy for us to fold, but we didn’t.
“We scored and got it started, and we went from there.”
Detroit regained the lead with four straight goals – including one into an empty net – in a 7:13 span.
Datsyuk skated around three Blue Jackets players and beat goalie Fredrik Norrena at 11:24 to make it 4-4.
“Nobody held me up so I kept going to the net, and I shot it,” Datsyuk said of his ninth of the season.
With Hainsey in the penalty box for hooking, Cleary scored off a deflection of Lang’s screened shot from the left circle to give the Red Wings the lead with 5:19 remaining.
“Playing with Lang has been a great opportunity for me,” said Cleary, who has seven goals and two assists in four games against Columbus this season. “He keeps getting me the puck all the time.”
Detroit entered the game 0-or-13 the last three games on the power play.
Datsyuk made it 6-4 just four minutes later, banking a shot from behind the net off Norrena.
“I tried to flip it out front to see what would happen,” Datsyuk said. “I was surprised it went in.”
Detroit lulled the Blue Jackets to sleep the first half of the game with dominant puck possession for a 3-0 lead.
“They played about the best I’ve ever seen them play in the first 30 minutes,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said.
But Columbus came to life with two quick strikes in a 1:28 span late in the second.
Hainsey threw the puck at the net from the low left circle, sneaking it past goaltender Chris Osgood to make it 3-1 at 12:32.
Moments later, Vyborny stole the puck and beat Osgood with a nifty backhand deke to cut the Red Wings’ lead to 3-2. Vyborny has 16 points in his last 11 games.
Fritsche and Foote scored power-goals 2:02 apart early in the third to give Columbus a 4-3 lead.
“We work that hard to come back from a deficit we have to find a way to win the game,” Foote said.
Cleary opened the scoring at 4:21 of the first off a pass from Lang. After a turnover by Blue Jackets defenceman Duvie Westcott, Lang found Cleary again in the slot for his second goal of the game.
Zetterberg made it 3-0 at 8:45 of the second with a chip shot over Norrena for his 15th goal. Lebda, zipped a cross-ice pass to Zetterberg alone in front.
“Things went wrong and we were able battle back,” Babcock said. “We were professional and we played with composure.”
Notes: Detroit D Chris Chelios did not play. He sustained a lower-body injury Wednesday night against Minnesota . . . Detroit has played Columbus and Minnesota three times each in its last six games.