ST. LOUIS – A little wave from Marian Hossa while leaving the ice on a gurney prompted a surge of relief on the Detroit Red Wings bench.
Then they took apart the St. Louis Blues behind Chris Osgood’s first shutout of the season, walloping a team that had been surging in a 5-0 victory on Tuesday night. “You’re a little concerned, a little worried, but then we got a little update that he was OK,” forward Daniel Cleary said. “The one thing we talked about was ‘Let’s take it to them, let’s get this thing out-of-hand.”‘
Hossa, the Red Wings’ leading scorer with 34 goals and 61 points in 62 games, was hospitalized for observation after slamming headfirst into the end boards early in the first period following a check by Roman Polak.
But Hossa was scheduled to make the team flight to Colorado and asked one of the team doctors if he could play.
“I don’t think he’s playing tomorrow but he’s flying with us,” coach Mike Babcock said. “They’re doing a bunch of tests on him and everything looks real good.”
Team spokesman John Hahn said a CT scan was negative.
Babcock had no complaints about Polak’s hit, describing it as a “bump” while Hossa was on one leg following through on a shot.
“He just kind of turned and hit the boards with his head,” Polak said. “I don’t want to injure the guy, I just want to play hard.
“I saw it and I didn’t feel good after that.”
Osgood stopped 22 shots for his 299th victory with the Central Division leaders, who have won three of four and are 3-0-1 against St. Louis this season.
Osgood made his second start after taking a four-game break to retool his game.
“I know when I’m playing good and when I’m not,” Osgood said. “I feel like I’m getting where I need to be, and I’m not scrambling around, so I think I’m going in the right direction.”
Tomas Kopecky had a goal and two assists. He scored short-handed and Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwell and Valtteri Filppula had power-play goals for the Red Wings.
Detroit dominated three days after absorbing their worst loss of the season, an 8-0 defeat by the Predators. Blues goalie Chris Mason had a strong two periods before faltering in a three-goal third period, ending a five-game streak in which he allowed one goal per game.
Mason said the Blues sagged after the Hossa injury.
“It seemed to slow down the fire we had,” Mason said. “I don’t know if it was the time delay or the situation, but we definitely didn’t come out the same or play the same after that.”
The Blues had been surging, entering with a season-best three-game winning streak that left them only three points out of a playoff spot and attracted a sellout crowd of 19,250 that included 100 standing-room tickets.
The Blues have missed the playoffs the last three seasons and team president John Davidson has been non-committal about the team’s plans for Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Coach Andy Murray doesn’t anticipate a big roster shakeup.
“I would suspect it’s probably going to look the same,” Murray said. “I haven’t been called up for any discussions, and they would call me if there was something going on.”
The Red Wings were short-handed for six minutes near the end of the first period, yet took the lead while holding the Blues to two shots.
Kopecky scored his third goal in five games and fifth overall off the rebound of a shot by Pavel Datsyuk when he swept a backhander around a prone Mason at 14:54.
Zetterberg slapped in a rebound for his 25th goal on a power play that put the Red Wings ahead 2-0 early in the second period. Zetterberg had an opening after Mason stopped two shots by Datsyuk.
In addition to the Hossa injury, the first period featured a fight between the Blues’ Cam Janssen and the Red Wings’ Aaron Downey that lasted several minutes.
Notes: St. Louis’ ’96 Pee-Wee Major AAA Amateur Blues, a youth team that recently won the 50th Quebec International Pee-Wee tournament in Montreal, was honoured after the first period. The team is coached by Al MacInnis, the Blues’ Hall of Fame defenceman and vice president of hockey operations. … Zetterberg has 75 points in 75 games against the Blues, including 18 goals. … The Blues haven’t won four in a row since Nov. 13-19, 2007.