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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 7th (All times eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (32-27-6) at Detroit Red Wings (43-14-8), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings will take aim at a third consecutive victory when they welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets for tonight's Central Division battle at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings, who won their fourth Stanley Cup title in 11 seasons last spring, are leading the division with 94 points and are also tied with San Jose for first place in the Western Conference and the NHL.

Columbus, meanwhile, is trying to get into the postseason for the first time in franchise history. The Blue Jackets haven't helped that cause recently, dropping two of three and four of their last six games, but are still tied with Nashville and Dallas for the conference's final three playoff berths.

Detroit began its March schedule with Tuesday's 5-0 thrashing of the Blues in St. Louis and picked up another road win the following night at Colorado.

Kris Draper scored the eventual game-winner late in the second and Ty Conklin made 25 saves as the Red Wings beat the Avalanche, 3-2, at the Pepsi Center. Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula notched the other goals for Detroit.

Detroit won without star forward Marian Hossa, who leads the club with 34 goals this year. Hossa returned from a two-game absence due to a neck injury in Tuesday's game against the Blues, but suffered a head/neck injury in a violent collision with the end boards after being checked by St. Louis' Roman Polak.

Hossa remained down for several minutes before being taken off the ice on a stretcher. A CT scan was negative and Hossa is considered to be day-to-day, but he will miss tonight's game.

Tonight marks the start of a three-game homestand for the Red Wings, who are an impressive 24-4-3 as the host this year. Detroit has won four straight and eight of their last nine home tilts.

The Blue Jackets are coming off Thursday's road loss at Nashville. Steve Sullivan notched the game-winning goal late in the second period, as the Predators doubled up Columbus, 4-2, at Sommet Center.

Rick Nash and Jason Williams scored for the Blue Jackets. Steve Mason allowed all four goals on just 23 shots in the loss, dropping him to 25-16-3 on the year.

Columbus is just 12-17-4 as the visiting team this year and is playing the second of back-to-back road games tonight. The Blue Jackets have lost two straight and three of their last four games as the guest.

Detroit won the first two meetings with the Blue Jackets this season, but Columbus has charged back with victories in each of the last two encounters. The clubs have split the last 10 matchups overall, but the Jackets have dropped four straight, six of seven and nine of their last 11 tests in the Motor City.

03/07 11:12:13 ET


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