Ken Hitchcock entered the league in January, 1996. In his first game with the Dallas Stars, he lost 4-0 to the Detroit Red Wings. For Ken Hitchcock's 1,000th game as an NHL coach, that was the score at the end of the first period.
Seven different Red Wings scored Wednesday night as Detroit beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-1 in Columbus.Jimmy Howard made 25 saves to help the Red Wings get their three-games-in-four-nights run off to a flying start.
Detroit jumped out quickly on goals from Dan Cleary and Pavel Datsuyk in the first four minutes, both from bad Columbus clearing attempts. When Kris Draper made it 3-0 on yet another Blue Jacket turnover, Hitchcock pulled starting goaltender Steve Mason, seemingly ready to give his starter the rest of the night off having faced only six shots.
The Red Wings would add the first-period capper from Niklas Kronwall on a screen by Todd Bertuzzi to go to the locker room up 4-0. But when Columbus came out for the second period, Mason was back in net. And it seemed to be a reasonable decision, as Rick Nash took advantage of a sloppy touch by Nicklas Lidstrom to put the Columbus on the board.
But Detroit came back with two goals in 33 seconds from two players that desperately needed to light the lamp. First Bertuzzi took a Datsuyk pass and put it past Moore so fast that no one except Bertuzzi responded. Then Ville Leino was set up nicely by Henrik Zetterberg to get his first goal since October 10 against Washington. The Red Wings went to the locker room up 6-1, which already set their high-water mark for goals in a game this year.
But they weren't done yet. With Anton Stralman in the penalty box, Kronwall got his second of the night by putting it in the top corner. Then Justin Abdelkader got into the action with back-to-back goals, his first goals since October 17.
Interestingly, every Red Wing goal scorer netted his third goal of the season tonight.
The Red Wings will head back to Joe Louis Arena for tomorrow night's matchup with Vancouver.
Player of the game: Niklas Kronwall's three points helped lead the Wings.
Catch the highlights below.