DETROIT - Saturday will mark the third of six meetings between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings this season.
Detroit won 5-2 on Oct. 21 and the Blue Jackets won 4-1 on Oct. 25 in Columbus.
The Red Wings are riding a franchise-record 16-game winning streak. They won two-straight on the road this week in Dallas and Phoenix to extend their overall winning streak to five games. In short, Detroit is the hottest team in the NHL right now.
The Red Wings (31-15-1) will be defending their first place position on Saturday when the bottom-dwelling Blue Jackets (13-28-5) visit Joe Louis Arena.
Things are grim for Columbus. The standings tell the story. Their 31 points put them seven points behind the 14th-place Edmonton Oilers and 21 points out of a playoff spot.
Four of the five Central Division teams are among the NHL's best, but Columbus is nowhere to be found in that list.
On the bright side, star Rick Nash is on a bit of a points streak, scoring four goals in his past nine games.
For the Red Wings, Todd Bertuzzi has helped lead the charge with size and finesse. Bertuzzi has four goals and two assists in his past four games.
Columbus is injured, too. RJ Umburger and James Wisniewski are among the BLue Jackets on IR. Defenseman Radek Martinek won't play for the rest of the season while he suffers from a concussion.
Patrick Eaves remains out of Detroit's lineup with a fractured jaw. Eaves had surgery and is recovering.
The Red Wings are five wins short of an NHL home winning streak record.
Detroit is 49-17-1 all-time against the Jackets -- 26-7-0 when the teams meet at Joe Louis.
The 2010-11 six-game season series was taken by the Wings, 4-2.
Puck drops at 7 p.m. Saturday.
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