DETROIT – The Red Wings are getting accustomed to living dangerously and winning.
Valtteri Filppula scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give Detroit its 16th straight home victory, 3-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
The 16-game home winning streak tied Detroit with the 1975-76 Boston Bruins for the fourth-longest home winning streak in NHL history. Only the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers (20 each), and the 1970-71 Bruins (19) had longer home winning streaks.
The Red Wings, first overall in the NHL with 65 points, have won six straight overall—four in shootouts and another in overtime.
“We think we’re going to win, which is a real nice thing to have,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “But we can play better than we have, no question about it. So we don’t want to get into a rut playing like this, we want to play way better.”
Niklas Kronwall and Nicklas Lidstrom scored for the Red Wings in regulation, and Jimmy Howard made 17 saves. Ryan Russell and Nikita Nikitin scored for Columbus, and Curtis Sanford stopped 29 shots.
“Paying the price, playing hard, just not getting the results we want,” Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards said.
Columbus is last in the league with 31 points.
The teams traded power-play goals in the second period.
Lidstrom tied it 2-2 with 8:57 left in the period when his slap shot from the point bounced off the end boards and deflected in off Sanford’s pads for his 10th goal.
Nikitin gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead 8:43 into the period with a wrist shot from the high slot. Russell opened the scoring 8:51 into the game with his second goal. He put in a rebound off the heel of Howard’s glove.
Kronwall tied it with 8:26 left in the first period when he beat Sanford from the high slot off the rush. It was Kronwall’s 11th goal of the season.
Nikitin was pushed into the boards by Henrik Zetterberg from behind during a Red Wings’ power play with 9:51 remaining and had to be helped off the ice with an apparent leg injury. Zetterberg received a boarding major and a game misconduct.
“The puck went down to the corner and I chased down their defenceman. I had my hand on his back. I don’t think I pushed him hard.,” Zetterberg said. “He went down. It looked bad, it looks really bad, so I can’t blame the referee for giving me five minutes. I really don’t know what to say, it looks bad.”
Columbus captain Rick Nash gave Zetterberg the benefit of the doubt.
“It’s a dangerous play. But the whole league knows that he’s not that kind of a player,” Nash said. “I thought he was going for the puck. I don’t think Zetterberg is that kind of player.”
Richards said there was no update on Nikitin after the game because the coach had not yet had a chance to talk to the team’s trainers. Zetterberg said he had not talked to Nikitin but said he would see if the Blue Jackets defencemen was still at the arena and try to talk to him.
NOTES: Columbus signed former Detroit defenceman Brett Lebda on Thursday. He was a healthy scratch Saturday night. … The Red Wings had only three goals on their previous 42 power plays before Lidstrom connected in the second period.