DETROIT - Pavel Datsyuk's heroics could not stop the Detroit Red Wings from suffering a fourth straight loss.
A home date against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday should provide the Red Wings with a nice opportunity to snap out of their current funk. Detroit has allowed a total of 16 goals over the last four games, including two in overtime. The Blue Jackets have dropped three straight and are sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Columbus' 10 points are the fewest in the entire NHL, but three of those have been taken from the Red Wings in two meetings this season. The Blue Jackets lost in a shootout on Jan. 21 and earned a 4-2 home victory over the perennial contenders on Feb. 2. The road has been far less kind to Columbus, which has dropped six straight away from the Buckeye State to fall to 1-6-0 on the road. The Red Wings will be kicking off a three-game homestand on Thursday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSOH (Columbus), FSD (Detroit), NHLN
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (4-10-2): Columbus has dropped the first three contests of its six-game road trip to Los Angeles, Phoenix and Anaheim. The Blue Jackets will finish their trip with Central Division opponents - beginning in Detroit.
Columbus scored a pair of third-period power-play goals to force overtime in its first meeting with the Red Wings and went 1-for-3 with the man-advantage in the 4-2 victory on Feb. 2. Artem Anisimov, who scored two goals for the Blue Jackets in that second meeting, has missed the last two games with a foot injury but could be back in the lineup on Thursday. Sergei Bobrovsky and Steve Mason have been splitting time in net - with each recording one start against the Red Wings already. If the current form holds, Mason will get the nod on Thursday.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (7-6-3): Only the Blue Jackets are keeping Detroit from sitting in the basement of the loaded Central Division. The Red Wings have suffered a pair of overtime losses to division opponents during their current slide, including Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Datsyuk scored one of the flashiest goals of the season when he muscled his way through four defenders to tie it in the third period and help Detroit salvage a point. Coach Mike Babcock's club has gone 1-for-13 on the power play during the losing streak and top goaltender Jimmy Howard has allowed 10 goals in just over 6 1/2 periods in his last three starts. Howard had to be removed in the first period Tuesday after experiencing blurred vision and is day-to-day.
Red Wings LW Johan Frazen (hip) has been out since Feb. 10 but is expected to play on Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Columbus C Brandon Dubinsky (knee) is questionable for Thursday.
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg does not have a goal since recording a hat trick on Feb. 1.
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