The Columbus Blue Jackets (23-20-5) capitalized on a shortened Wings bench courtesy of a Rick Nash hat trick Tuesday night. The 3-2 victory was the first over the Detroit Red Wings (31-9-7) this season.
The Wings were without the services of captain Nicklas Lidstrom and forward Pavel Datsyuk, who were not allowed to play because they did not participate in the All-Star Game. Detroit was also missing Brad Stuart on the blue line due to a rib cartilage injury that will keep him out for at least another week. During the first period, Henrik Zetterberg's back tightened up and as a precaution he left for the locker room and did not return to the game. Considering all this, getting a point in the game is not bad. I'm sure head coach Mike Babcock would never agree because he demands and expects the best from his players, but I thought we played a good game considering the factors.
Marian Hossa opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 8:55 in the first period. Niklas Kronwall took a shot and Hossa capitalized on the rebound off the back boards for his 23rd goal of the season. Zetterberg also earned an assist on the goal.
Rick Nash wouldn't score his first goal of the game (shorthanded) until halfway through the second period. Defenseman Brett Lebda posted a goal just 29 seconds later on a shot from the slot. Nash kept the Blue Jackets in the game when he made a centering pass and the puck actually deflected off of Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski and into the net past goaltender Chris Osgood.
Neither team would score in the final frame sending the game into overtime. With 1:33 remaining, Nash completed his hat trick by converting on a loose puck opportunity. Each team only had 23 shots in the contest. It's not unusual for an opponent to only have that many shots, but the absence of key forwards and a shorter bench clearly impacted the shot total for Detroit.
Detroit hosts the Dallas Stars this Thursday evening.