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Nikolai Zherdev scores shootout winner as Columbus beats Detroit

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Nikolai Zherdev made sure the Columbus Blue Jackets earned a full two points in another strong performance against Detroit.

Zherdev scored the winning goal in a shootout to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday night.

Michael Peca and Rick Nash also scored in the shootout for Columbus, which won after Detroit tied it with two goals in a team-record five seconds. The game was the second shootout in a week between the teams, with Detroit winning Sunday.

"It was like three different games," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "First period, both teams picked their spots and then we played very well in the second, but couldn't build on the lead we had and left the door open."

Manny Malhotra and Zherdev scored in regulation to help Columbus win its second straight game. Pascal Leclaire made 23 saves, and also made a big stop on Henrik Zetterberg in the shootout.

Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist, and Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Detroit, which has lost five of seven. Chris Osgood made several spectacular saves to keep the Red Wings in the game.

"We had every chance to win," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "So many opportunities, but the bottom line is, without Ozzie, we wouldn't have even got the third period. It would have been over."

With Columbus ahead 2-0 midway through the second period and seemingly in control, Detroit tied it in a flash.

Holmstrom jammed home a loose puck sitting in a pile of players for his 12th at 10:44 with the Red Wings on a power play. The Blue Jackets won the ensuing faceoff, but Datsyuk stole the puck from Zherdev and zipped a rising shot from the circles over Leclaire at 10:49 to even it.

The two goals in five seconds set a record for Detroit. The previous mark was seven seconds, done in both 1936 and 1987. It also was the quickest two goals allowed in Columbus' short history. The Blue Jackets gave up goals eight seconds apart in 2006.

"We were able to keep our composure and continue to apply pressure," Peca said. "They continued to play hard and create chances. It could have gone either way."

Osgood made his best saves moments earlier with Columbus on the power play and looking to add to their lead. He stoned Gilbert Brule on a semi-breakaway after Dan Cleary gave the puck away. Osgood then followed with two diving, stick saves seconds apart on Nash on cross-ice feeds.

"They made some great play to keep it out of the net," Peca said.

Columbus had a two-man advantage late in the period - and again - couldn't convert with a wide-open look. This time it was Zherdev, and he was stuffed by the stick of a lunging Andreas Lilja.

The Red Wings controlled most of the third period with terrific puck possession, but failed to convert on a 48-second, two-man chance just past the midway mark.

"We kind of ran out of gas because of the back-to-back," said Hitchcock, mentioning his team's 4-0 win at Minnesota on Friday.

Malhotra put Columbus on the board first with his fourth goal. Osgood stopped Jason Chimera's wraparound try, but the puck slid to Malhotra, who scored from the slot at 12:35 of the opening period.

"For some reason, playing teams higher up in the standings brings out the best in us," Malhotra said.

A casual rush ended with Zherdev scoring on a deflection for his seventh to make it 2-0 with two minutes remaining in the first.

"We didn't have enough players ready to go at the start of today's game," Babcock said.

Notes: Columbus' David Vyborny, one of two players remaining from the team's 2000 inaugural season, played in his 500th game and had his 300th career assist. ... The Red Wings finished a stretch of nine games against fellow Central Division teams by going 4-5. ... Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock called a timeout midway through the first period. ... Detroit has scored on the power play in five straight games.


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