The Blue Jackets ended a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting Red Wings on Friday, but even worse than the loss was the injury news Detroit received.
Starting goaltender Jimmy Howard left the game before the end of the first period with a bruised right knee after allowing a pair of goals on 11 shots. Joey MacDonald suffered the loss despite stopping all 21 shots he faced in 52- plus minutes of action and is expected to get the start tonight.
The Red Wings are already without veteran goaltender Chris Osgood, who is out for six-to-eight weeks after recently undergoing surgery for a sports hernia.
To make matters worse, Detroit announced following the game that forward Tomas Holmstrom suffered a broken hand late in the contest and will be sidelined for a month. Holmstrom has 11 goals and 11 assists in 44 games this season.
"That's just the way it goes sometimes," coach Mike Babcock said. "You get injuries and you just have to fight through them."
Antoine Vermette scored the lone goal of the shootout in the fourth round, as Columbus beat Detroit last night at Nationwide Arena. Vermette tallied on the backhand to open the round, and Johan Franzen could have extended the game for Detroit, but he lost control of his shot as he moved to the backhand and shoveled it wide.
Steve Mason got the win -- his first since December 31 -- with 26 stops.
"We try to make sure everybody is on their heels a little bit, especially their skill players," said Columbus head coach Scott Arniel. "We're in a fight for points and we gotta play our best every night."
"We didn't skate very good in the first period and that was our undoing," said Babcock. "We played better as the game went on, but it wasn't enough."
Detroit, which leads the Western Conference with 60 points, has still won eight of the last 10 encounters with Columbus overall. The Blue Jackets have lost four in a row and eight of their last nine in the Motor City.
The Red Wings have a 13-5-4 home record this year, while Columbus is just 9-10-2 on the road.