Zetterberg has third-period hat trick to lift Wings past Blue Jackets

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings were listless for the first two periods before Henrik Zetterberg sent them to victory.

He scored three goals in the third to lift Detroit to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. It was Zetterberg’s third career hat trick. He had gone seven games without a goal and only had one in his past 11.

“It’s a great confidence builder for him to get back on the scoresheet again,” Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “He’s had a lot of chances. He’s been snake bit a little bit, not being able to score.”

Manny Malhotra scored for Columbus, which had won the past three meetings.

Zetterberg, who has 39 goals, tied the game at 1, 6:43 into the third period with a spectacular effort. He took the puck from his own blue-line into the Columbus zone, where he skated past defencemen Jan Hejda and Rostislav Klesla, before backhanding the puck past Blue Jackets goaltender Fredrik Norrena.

“The first one, I had a lot of speed coming and I got a great pass from Brian Rafalski and their D were kind of standing still,” Zetterberg said. “I got through them and put it five-hole on the goalie. It was a good feeling to see it go in.”

Zetterberg’s second goal came on the power play with 1:54 left when he scored on a one-timer from the left circle.

He completed his hat trick with 1:19 left when he stole the puck from Jiri Novotny in the neutral zone, carried it into the Blue Jackets’ zone, made a fake on Norrena and put the puck into the empty net.

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“We made a couple of mistakes and they wound up in the net,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said.

Malhotra’s power-play goal opened the scoring 7:05 into the second period. He put in a loose puck for his 11th goal.

“It was a tough start, it was a grinding-type game,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “We took three penalties in the first period and it was hard to get any momentum. But I thought we hung in there and found a way to get it done.”

Notes: Columbus was without G Pascal LeClaire (head) and RW David Vyborny (knee sprain). … C Kris Draper (groin), C Valtteri Filppula (groin) and RW Tomas Holmstrom (lower abdominal) missed the game for Detroit. … Blue Jackets LW Fredrik Modin returned after missing a game with the flu. … Columbus RW Jared Boll left the game with a hip injury after a collision with Modin early in the first period. He will be evaluated on Thursday. … The Red Wings’ three shots in the first period were the fewest they’ve had at home in a period this season. … Blue Jackets C Dan Fritsche injured his hand in the second period and did not return. He will also be evaluated on Thursday.