Defending the Cup: Game 40

The Result: Detroit beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 to notch their fourth consecutive win. It was a well-played game by both squads, and one kept interesting by strong goaltending at both ends.

Columbus rookie Steve Mason stole the show for two periods before the Wings' offense proved too much. At the other end of the ice, Ty Conklin withstood the advances of the Jackets, particularly Fredrik Modin, who had plenty of chances to put the puck in the net.

The Injury:Rick Nash left the game after the first period after apparently injuring his ankle. The team has already called up Russian phenomNikita Filatov, but don't expect the injury to keep Nash out long. Nash's absence certainly hampered the Jackets, but his presence may not have changed the outcome of the game. The Wings were pretty solid last night.
I wrote yesterday that Pavel Datsyuk was the player to keep an eye on in this one and he did not disappoint. Once again, he was the best player on the ice. He was involved in each of the Wings' goals, notching one of his own and assisting on the other two, and had a number of scoring chances besides.

More important than the points to his quest at repeating as Selke winner was his being credited with four takeaways. Datsyuk continues to be one of the most dangerous players in the League, with the puck or without it. He has stood out enough from his teammates in recent weeks to be one of only two Red Wings to be named the All Star team as a reserve.

HossaWatch: Marian Hossa snapped a seven-game goalless streak last night with his 18th of the season. The tally ties him with Johan Franzen for the team lead. Hossa's offensive production has trailed off of late, but it's not for lack of trying. He remains a threat, but just hasn't had things go his way lately. Here's hoping last night's goal sets him off on a tear again.

NorrisWatch:Nick Lidstrom continues to step up his play as we near the half-way mark of the season. His two assists last night put in the top ten of defensive scoring at 27 points. He's looking more every game like the "Super Swede" Wings fans know and love. He's the only other Wing on the Western All Star team.

Rough Game: Valtteri Filppula had a rough game last night, not because he played badly, but because he was knocked around more than any other Detroit player, it seemed. He missed practice today, probably because of the knee he took to the inner thigh at one point in the game.

On Tap: The Wings face off against the Avery-less and thus resurgent Dallas Stars Thursday night. Chris Osgood will be in net.

Defending the Cup: Game 40 originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Wed, 07 Jan 2009 13:01:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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