DETROIT – The Columbus Blue Jackets gave their playoff hopes a boost – and set a couple of team records, too.
Rick Nash had his fourth career hat trick – his second against Detroit this season and third overall against the Red Wings – in Columbus’ 8-2 victory Saturday night.
R.J. Umberger also scored two goals, Jason Williams had a goal and an assist, Raffi Torres and Andrew Murray also scored, and Steve Mason made 44 saves for Columbus, fighting to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The Blue Jackets set franchise records for most goals and margin of victory.
“We’ve been getting these efforts for a long time,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “The difference for us was it paid off tonight.”
The Blue Jackets bounced back from a 4-2 loss at Nashville Thursday night.
“We needed this win tonight to stay in the race and determine our own fate,” Nash said.
Henrik Zetterberg and Aaron Downey scored for Detroit. Chris Osgood made 16 saves before being pulled early in the third period. The defending Stanley Cup champions also allowed eight goals Feb. 28 in a shutout loss at Nashville.
“You get mad. You don’t want to play like this, especially in front of your home fans,” Zetterberg said. “Today it was the breakaways we gave them. you have to execute, make the passes. We have to step up and play better as a group.”
The Blue Jackets led 2-0 after the first period.
Torres opened the scoring 4:18 into the game when he tipped in Fedor Tyutin’s shot for Torres’ sixth goal. Umberger made it 2-0 at 8:05 when he deflected in a slap pass from point man Jason Williams. Umberger’s first goal of the game came 7 seconds after a Columbus power play.
Williams goal came with 6:48 left in the second period when he put the puck into an empty net after Detroit defenceman Brian Rafalski misplayed it in the crease as he broke up a pass. It was Williams’ 14th goal.
“Not very often it (winning by such a big margin) happens here,” Williams said. “An off night for Ozzie and the turnovers. I feel like we got some good bounces, especially on my goal. It bounced over the defenceman’s stick and it was right there for me.”
Nash’s short-handed goal with 4:20 remaining made it 4-0. He broke up Zetterberg’s pass at the Blue Jackets blue line for a breakaway and beat Osgood with a wrist shot.
“Very smart player. He’s got deceiving speed. Not many people know how fast he is,” Williams said. “But when he gets those legs moving he’s fast. And it showed on the short-handed goal, the way he broke away from the defenceman.”
Zetterberg spoiled Mason’s shutout bid with 2:48 left in the second.
Nash’s second goal of the game came 15 seconds into the third period.
Umberger got his second goal and 23rd of the season, on a power play, 2:49 into the third and Murray scored at 3:25 for his eighth goal to chase Osgood, who was replaced by Ty Conklin.
“We didn’t give ourselves a chance. We hung our goalie out to dry – both of them,” Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock said. “We got out of sync by turning the puck over early and we never really got it going.”
Downey got his first goal, 5:32 into the third period.
Nash completed his hat trick with 7:44 left for his 31st goal. All three goals were unassisted.
“He’s doing what most captains do this time of the year,” Hitchcock said. “He’s trying to help his team get into the playoffs.” Notes: Detroit RW Marian Hossa didn’t play because of a sore neck and back. D Andreas Lilja sat out because of a concussion. … Columbus C Michael Peca didn’t play because of a head injury. LW Fredrik Modin sat out with a knee injury. … There was a moment of silence before the game for the passing of Colleen Howe, the wife of Red Wings’ Hall of Famer Gordie Howe. She died Friday at the age of 76 following a long battle with Pick’s disease, a rare form of dementia.