Detroit power play overwhelms Columbus, again
The Columbus Blue Jackets are still searching for the franchise's first playoff win after a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarter-final series on Saturday.
The Red Wings now travel to Ohio with a 2-0 series lead and can thank their potent power play for the win.
While they were outshot at the beginning of the game by a 5-1 count, Detroit soon found their feet thanks to two straight Columbus penalties and tallied three power play goals on the night.
The Blue Jackets' Michael Peca went off at 9:32 of the first on a slashing call and he watched as Detroit used the advantage to conjure up plenty of chances, but Columbus rookie backstop Steve Mason turned away the two shots Detroit managed to direct at him.
Mason made 34 saves on the night but couldn't stop everything the Red Wings threw at him, especially those he couldn't see.
With Columbus winger Jakub Voracek in the penalty box for hooking at 12:23, the Red Wings' Tomas Holmstrom did what he does best, screening Mason, who couldn't get a clean look at Brian Rafalski's point shot.
Rafalski's slapper sailed over Mason's shoulder for an early 1-0 lead.
Detroit wins the battle of the power play
The Blue Jackets were also looking to improve their power play after going 0-for-5 in the opener. Detroit's Dan Cleary gave them a chance to notch their first of the series when he took an interference penalty a mere 10 seconds into Game 2.
Their only real chance during the odd-man opportunity was when captain Rick Nash, positioned on the side of the Detroit goal, fired a short pass to a streaking Fredrik Modin.
However, the snapshot was easily handled by Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, who swallowed up the shot in the midsection, denying any rebound for the Blue Jackets.
Columbus has managed just one goal in two games and Nash has registered no points and just seven shots in the series thus far. He gives full credit to the Wings' defence and the goaltending of Osgood.
"They're playing me tight. There's not a lot of room and I'm not getting much time with the puck," Nash said. "Osgood's playing well, he's hot right now. We've got to stick with it and fight through it."
Coach Ken Hitchcock said that his star player isn't getting the space he needs to work his offensive magic.
"We'll see if we can make some room for him now," Hitchcock said. "Lidstrom and Rafalski, it's not those two guys. It's the five-man group. They've got five world-class players playing against him."
Osgood stopped all 25 shots he faced and recorded his 14th career playoff shutout. He moves into a fourth-place tie on the NHL's career postseason shutout list along with Dominik Hasek, Ed Belfour and Jacques Plante.
Detroit continued to exploit the Blue Jackets' trips to the penalty box in the second period when Antoine Vermette's interference call 6:24 into the middle frame cost the Blue Jackets another goal.
Pavel Datsyuk converted a Marian Hossa slap pass for a 2-0 lead.
Henrik Zetterberg gave the Blue Jackets made it a three-goal lead before the end of the second when he took the puck from teammate Johan Franzen behind the Columbus goal line, circled to the front of the net and fired the puck over the glove of Mason.
Osgood stonewalls Columbus
One of the best offensive chances for Columbus came in the middle frame when a two-on-one was foiled after the Blue Jackets' Jason Chimera misfired.
Brad Dorsett gathered the rebound and believed he had solved Osgood after firing it at the Detroit netminder from a sharp angle on the half boards.
However, a video review confirmed the call of no-goal on the ice by the officials as Osgood smothered the puck against the post.
Detroit held the bulk of the offensive pressure, firing 15 shots in the opening frame to the Blue Jackets' eight. Mason did his best as he faced the Detroit offensive onslaught in the second period and kept his team in the game with several clutch saves until the Detroit power-play put the game away.
Jiri Hudler added another power-play marker in the third period when his shot ricocheted off Mason's glove and into the Columbus net to make it 4-0.
The Hudler goal was the sixth power-play goal given up by the Blue Jackets in the series so far.
The two teams meet again for Game 3 Tuesday in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets will host their first-ever playoff home game.