NHL Game Summary - Detroit at Columbus
(Wednesday, March 31st)
Final Score: Detroit 3, Columbus 2
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Tomas Holmstrom and Robert Lang scored in the third period to rally Detroit to a 3-2 win over Columbus at Nationwide Arena.
Holmstrom finished with a goal and an assist for Red Wings, who earned their fourth straight victory and clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Kirk Maltby also scored.
"We are thrilled to win the conference," said Detroit head coach Dave Lewis. "It's a real reward for our guys."
Trevor Letowski and Don MacLean scored for the Blue Jackets, who suffered their second straight loss.
Manny Legace made 30 saves for Detroit, which overcame a 2-1 deficit to move three points ahead of idle Tampa Bay for the most points in the NHL.
Holmstrom's tip-in, at 4:22 of the third period, got Detroit a 2-2 tie. The rebound of a shot by Jiri Fischer sat in the crease just in front of the goal line and Holmstrom pushed it into the net.
Then, with a Columbus player leaning on him, Lang notched his first goal with the Red Wings 4:41 later. He delivered the game-winner, a low wrist shot past Marc Denis, who stopped 27 shots.
The Blue Jackets played the final 32.1 seconds on the power play and with an extra skater, but couldn't force overtime.
"It was a good third period," said Legace. "We are surely going to face some situations like that in the playoffs."
Columbus held an 11-8 shots advantage during a scoreless first period.
However, Detroit went ahead 1-0 early in the second period. Maltby tipped in a pass in the crease at 1:45. Darren McCarty set it up with a feed from the right faceoff circle.
Just over a minute later, Letowski was credited with a goal to forge a 1-1 tie for Columbus. Lang gathered a loose puck for Detroit and slid it toward his own crease. It deflected off the skate of Legace into the net.
MacLean's first goal since November 13, 1997 put the Blue Jackets ahead 2-1 at 8:28 of the second. His one-timer from the right circle, deflected by Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios, went into the net.
Rick Nash had a breakaway stopped by Legace with less than nine minutes to go in the period.
The Red Wings captured the season series 4-1 and improved to 9-1-1 in the last 11 meetings...Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla taken off the ice with 4:52 left in the third period after getting checked into an open door on the Detroit bench...Detroit went 0-for-1 with the extra skater, while the Blue Jackets were 0-for-7 on the power play.
03/31 23:54:57 ET