Osgood, Red Wings blank Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — No need to hit the panic button,
Detroit fans. Despite some bad times, rocky times and nagging
question marks, the Red Wings are right back atop the heap.

Chris Osgood made 23 saves for his 49th career shutout, and the
Red Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-0, on Sunday to
become the first team in NHL history to top 100 points in nine
straight seasons.

“Obviously, to set an NHL record, it’s phenomenal,” coach Mike
Babcock said. “I’ve only been part of it for four years, (but
I’m) proud of the fact that for four years we’ve been over the
century mark.”

Babcock then went on to single out general manager Ken Holland,
the Illitch family that owns the team and several veteran
players, noting the patience they’ve shown to build a perennial

“That’s beyond impressive,” Babcock said. “When you look at
that, I’m proud for those people. For us, we’re just trying to
get better and get prepared for the playoffs.”

Osgood, who was struggling to find his form before the playoffs,
looked like his old self in his second shutout of the season.

“It seems like every (year) we end up in the same spot,” said
Osgood, who tied longtime friend and teammate, Mike Vernon, for
11th on the career list with 385 victories.

“We’ve got a good core, a good group of guys. We know how to
fight through adversity. We know how to deal with the pressures
of playing in Detroit. We always know in the end that we’re
going to be there and give ourselves a good chance to win in the

The victory came eight days after the Blue Jackets humiliated
the reigning Stanley Cup champions 8-2 on their own ice, with
Osgood surrendering seven goals – also on 23 shots.

“Anytime you’re embarrassed it is (motivation),” Babcock said.
“They’re big boys, they’re smart. They were up for the game.
They suffered humiliation, just like anybody else. We needed to
respond here today.”

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Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and an assist,
and Marian Hossa and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for Detroit,
the NHL leader with 101 points.

The Red Wings broke a tie with Montreal (1974-75 through
1981-82) for the NHL mark for consecutive 100-point seasons.

The loss ended the Blue Jackets’ winning streaks at four overall
and three at home.

“We gave it to them last time and they showed us why they are
the best team in the league tonight,” Blue Jackets captain Rick
Nash said.

Columbus came into the game alone in sixth place in the Western
Conference with 78 points, four ahead of Dallas and five in
front of Edmonton and Nashville. The Blue Jackets are striving
to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

The Red Wings played committed, efficient, almost desperate
hockey — almost as if they also were fighting for a playoff
spot instead of playing out the string before their 17th
consecutive postseason trip.

Only 29 seconds in, the Red Wings found the back of the net —
although Brad Stuart’s slap shot was waved off because teammate
Tomas Holmstrom was standing in the crease.

No matter. The Red Wings stayed on a roll.

Hossa streaked up the left wing past two defensemen and was able
to get off a shot on Detroit goalie Steve Mason. He then pounced
on the rebound and slid it between Mason’s leg pads for his 35th
of the year.

Detroit had a two-man advantage when Kronwall took a drop pass
from Jiri Hudler and one-timed it past Mason from the left
point. Samuelsson then converted a turnover into his 18th of the
year before Franzen scored his 28th.

Osgood, meanwhile, was up to all challenges. He stopped R.J.
Umberger as he swooped in all alone in the second period, then
later blocked a Rick Nash wrister. In the third, he smothered
Kris Russell’s blast on a delayed penalty.

“We played a real solid road game. We played smart, too,” said
captain Nicklas Lidstrom.