DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings’ power play is in full flight after a 0-for-18 start.
Johan Franzen scored two of Detroit’s three power-play goals and added an assist, and Valtteri Filppula had a goal and three assists to help the Red Wings remain unbeaten with a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
Detroit (5-0-0) and the Washington Capitals (6-0-0)—who play the Red Wings in Washington on Saturday night—are the NHL’s only two unbeaten teams. Columbus (0-6-1) is the league’s only winless squad.
Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and an assist for Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk also scored, Tomas Holmstrom added two assists, and Jimmy Howard made 32 saves.
“Good to get a couple on the power play. We needed that for sure. We’ve been struggling a little bit,” Franzen said. “I don’t think we ran a set play that we worked at. It was kind of just getting the puck to the net and create opportunities. That usually helps. Don’t over-think it and just get pucks to the net.”
He got the Red Wings’ first power-play goal of the season, in overtime last Saturday night, to give Detroit a 3-2 victory in Minnesota in its previous game. The Red Wings were 3 for 5 on Friday night.
Derick Brassard and Aaron Johnson scored for the Blue Jackets and Steve Mason stopped 28 shots.
“These guys are going to have to find a way to find the answers to get a win,” Columbus coach Scott Arneil said. “The only answers are going to come from that room. We’ve got to stick together.”
Johnson’s power-play goal 1:42 into the third period brought the Blue Jackets to 3-2. His first goal came with Lidstrom off for hooking.
Lidstrom restored the Red Wings’ two-goal lead with a power-play goal of his own at 7:46. His second goal came on a slap shot from the high slot after Columbus killed off a 5-on-3 disadvantage and with only six seconds left in the second penalty.
“We had a good push in the third period but they scored on the 5-on-3 to put the game away,” Brassard said.
Filppula completed the scoring with an empty-net goal. He tried to set up Franzen to complete the hat trick but Franzen’s shot attempt as he was being checked didn’t reach the net and Filppula tapped it in.
“I was kind of hoping Mule (Franzen) would get that, but it looked like he didn’t want it that bad,” Filppula said.
Franzen opened the scoring with his first goal 9:03 into the game with R.J. Umberger in the penalty box for holding Datsuk. Franzen, playing in his 400th game, beat Mason from the bottom of the right circle.
Franzen’s second goal, and fourth of the season, came with 5:39 left in the period and with Derek MacKenzie off for slashing. Franzen’s shot from Mason’s left deflected in off Johnson.
“Mule got a good bounce on the second one. It’s something we need,” Howard said. “Sometimes you need that bounce for your power play to get going.”
Brassard put Columbus on the board just 57 seconds later when he put in a rebound for his second goal. Datsyuk made it 3-1 just 27 seconds into the second period when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and shot it into an open net.
Notes: Columbus was without C Jeff Carter (broken foot), RW Jared Boll (hand) and D James Wisniewski, who served the seventh game of his eight-game suspension for a hit on Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck during the exhibition season. … Detroit D Mike Commodore sat out with a knee injury and RW Patrick Eaves and LW Fabian Brunnstrom were healthy scratches. … It was Detroit D Brad Stuart’s 800th game.