DETROIT – Jonas Gustavsson appears to finally be over his injury woes.
The backup goaltender was hobbled by groin injuries for much of the lockout shortened campaign last year, after being signed by the Red Wings as a free agent. And when this season began Gustavsson again found himself on injured reserve with another groin pull.
But he has been outstanding in two consecutive wins in two days.
The latest was Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, in which Gustavsson made 36 saves.
“I felt good. We had a game yesterday, so back-to-back, and that was the first couple of games that I played so that was different,” Gustavsson said. “It’s just a matter of preparing yourself and be ready to go out and have a good first period because that’s usually the key in these kind of games.”
Gustavsson is in the lineup due to No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard’s sore hand. Gustavsson backstopped Detroit to a 3-2 win in Boston on Monday afternoon.
His biggest save on Tuesday night was a spectacular stop on Columbus defenceman Jack Johnson, sliding across the crease to smother a backhand shot from the right circle with 5:20 left to preserve the Red Wings’ lead.
“I don’t know if I couldn’t get a good push or if I got caught with one of our or their guys, but I had to do something to get some part of my body over there,” Gustavsson said. “Lucky enough that was enough.”
Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock talked about Guistavsson.
“Really good for him, first and foremost, and then really good for us. If he can get his confidence back, the reason we signed him was we thought he could really help us,” Babcock said. “Tonight and last night, going back to back, will go a long way to doing it. You got to stay healthy and feel good about yourself. In this league you got to earn it and he’s done that the last couple nights.”
Daniel Alfredsson scored his first goal as a Red Wing and Todd Bertuzzi got the game winner. Henrik Zetterberg had two assists.
Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrobsky made 30 saves.
“I thought we deserved a better fate,” Blue Jackets’ coach Todd Richards said. “I thought the guys worked real hard and I saw a lot of good things.”
Bertuzzi’s power-play goal gave the Red Wings a 2-1 with 8:46 left in the middle period. He scored from just outside the crease for his second goal.
Atkinson put the Blue Jackets on the board and tied the game 7:48 into the second period with an unassisted power-play goal. It was a spectacular individual effort as Atkinson carried the puck the length of the ice, bulled past Detroit defenceman Dan DeKeyser, got off one shot and then jammed the rebound past Gustavsson. It was Atkinson’s second goal.
“I just used my speed to my benefit and kind of just went with it,” Atkinson said.
Alfredsson gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead 5:05 into the game when he blasted a slap shot past Bobrovsky from the left circle.
Detroit led 1-0 after the first period, despite being outshot 18-7.
Notes: Petr Mrazek was recalled from Grand Rapids of the AHL earlier in the day to back up Gustavsson. .. .Columbus D James Wisniewski is a native of the Detroit-area suburb Canton and played his junior hockey with the suburban-Detroit based Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. .. Blue Jackets’ D Johnson is from Ann Arbor and played at the University of Michigan. .. The start of the game was pushed back 30 minutes to 8 p.m. because of the Detroit Tigers’ American League Championship Series game against the Boston Red Sox, which began at 4 p.m. at Comerica Park. .. Blue Jackets RW Jared Boll also played with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. .. Detroit sent C Darren Helm to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. He hasn’t played this season and played only one game last season due to a sore back. . Columbus C Matt Calvert underwent abdominal surgery and is out for six weeks.