NHL Game Summary - Detroit at Columbus
(Thursday, March 11th)
Final Score: Detroit 4, Columbus 2
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Jason Williams scored twice and Brett Hull recorded the game-winner with 7:55 left, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Williams, who had been a healthy scratch the last 21 games, doubled his goal output to give goaltender Curtis Joseph the win in his return from injury. Williams last appeared in a game on January 21 against Anaheim.
"It felt really good to get back in the lineup," said Williams. "I've been really waiting for this moment and I happened to get some good scoring chances."
Joseph made 31 saves in his return from a sprained right ankle he suffered on February 11. He was originally expected to be out for only seven to 10 days.
"I was great at times and so-so at times," said Joseph, who admitted to having a sore ankle during the game.
Henrik Zetterberg scored an empty-netter for the Red Wings, who are 5-0-1 in their last six games. Detroit also improved to 8-1-2 in its last 11 and 12-2-4 in its last 18.
Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist for Columbus, which has lost four straight.
Marc Denis made 31 saves in net, as the Blue Jackets fell to 3-9-0 in their last 12 tilts. The club has also lost three straight and four of five at home.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the third, Detroit took the lead when Hull scored on a one-timer from the left circle. Shanahan brought the puck into the zone along the right boards. He then sent a pass to Nicklas Lidstrom at the point, who immediately passed it along to Hull.
Detroit then had to kill a two-minute penalty beginning 50 seconds later and held off Columbus during the final five minute for the win. Earlier in the contest, Detroit also had to kill off a pair of 5-on-3 penalties.
Columbus skated the final minute-plus with an extra skater and Zetterberg made the Blue Jackets pay by tallying an empty-net goal.
"I think once we killed those (five-on-three penalties) off that kind of gave us a lift," Joseph said.
The Red Wings, who extended their Western Conference lead to three points over idle Colorado, have now killed off all 36 penalties in their last nine games.
Detroit also moved within one point of idle Tampa Bay for the overall points lead in the NHL.
The two teams exchanged first-period goals. Trevor Letowski put Columbus ahead just 5:36 into the game when he gathered a rebound from a Zherdev shot, skated behind the net and beat a diving Joseph by stuffing the puck home.
Detroit responded with 8:33 left in the period when Williams scored his first goal of the game. Williams skated into the offensive zone and fought off a Columbus defender to backhand a shot over the stick side of Denis.
The second period also saw each team score a goal. Williams tallied his second goal by again taking the puck into the offensive zone, skating across the crease and beating Denis with another backhand, this time to the glove side on a breakaway.
Zherdev evened the score going into the third, scoring with 3:11 left. Zherdev picked up the puck on the left-side boards, skated through the circle and wristed a shot past the glove side of Joseph.
Joseph was activated from injured reserve and served as the backup to Manny Legace in Monday's 1-1 tie versus Tampa Bay...This was Williams' second career two-goal game. He has four goals this season...Zherdev recorded the second multi-point game of his career...Detroit is 8-1-1 in its last 10 matchups against Columbus and 15-3-1 in 19 meetings. The Red Wings are also 5-1-1 in seven trips to Nationwide Arena.
03/11 23:56:35 ET