By Stefan Kubus –
DETROIT – With 36 saves Tuesday night, Jonas Gustavsson picked up his first set of back-to-back wins since January 2012.
Newcomer Daniel Alfredsson potted his first official goal as a member of the Red Wings, while Henrik Zetterberg registered a pair of assists in a 2-1 Detroit win Tuesday night over Columbus, making it three victories in a row for the Original Six club. Todd Bertuzzi, who has rejuvenated the Red Wings’ top power-play unit, also scored for Detroit.
Gustavsson has filled in for Jimmy Howard the last two outings – he led the Wings to a win in Boston Monday afternoon – and he’s just returning from an injury that put him on the injured-reserve list to start the season.
“I felt good,” Gustavsson said. “It’s just a matter of preparing yourself and be ready to go out there and have a good first period, because that’s usually the key to get into these kind of games. Overall, I think the guys played really well, too. It helped me a lot, so that made it easy.”
Defenseman Kyle Quincey said it was great for ‘The Monster’ to get his chance to shine.
“The Monster played as good as he has the past two games; great for him and great for us,” Quincey said. “It’s great seeing the guy finally get a chance and doing well with the opportunity, so we’re all happy for him.”
Alfredsson opened the scoring at 5:05 of the first period, firing a wrist shot past Bobrovsky for the 1-0 lead. Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg drew assists on No. 11’s first marker.
However, Detroit headed off the ice after 20 minutes with an 18-7 shot disadvantage.
“As a goalie, you like shots,” Gustavsson said. “You like to get shots early and to touch the puck a little bit, so I think that was only good for me to get into the game and get going.”
Cam Atkinson tied things up for Columbus at the 7:48 mark on a tremendous individual effort, taking the puck end-to-end on the power play, before beating a Red Wings defender wide and jamming one home past Gustavsson.
Bertuzzi knocked in his second goal of the young season, a power-play marker, on a rebound in front of Bobrovsky at 11:14 of the second stanza to put Detroit back on top at 2-1.
Previously, the Red Wings power play had been 3-for-17, tied for 21st in the NHL, but Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said he liked what he saw out of his team when served with the man-advantage opportunities.
“I thought it was real good, and I thought it was dangerous,” Babcock said. “You’re not going to get (power-play goals) every night, but you want to.”
While the Blue Jackets held a 26-20 shot advantage after 40 minutes, the Red Wings threw much more rubber at Bobrovsky, outshooting Columbus, 13-8, in the second period.
“Obviously, we got real good goaltending in the first period until we got our legs and then I thought our competitive juices started to go and we started to play a lot better in the second and third,” Babcock said. “Gus was outstanding two nights in a row. He made a huge save there on Johnson down the stretch and I thought again our special teams were huge tonight.”
With the save of the night, Gustavsson robbed former University of Michigan Wolverine and Ann Arbor native Jack Johnson with 5:20 remaining in the game. It looked like Johnson had an open net on a rebound opportunity, but Gustavsson slid across from right to left in order to turn away the best scoring chance of the third period for either side.
“I don’t know if I couldn’t get a good push or if I got caught with one of our or their guys, but I felt like I had to do something to get some part of my body over there,” Gustavsson said of the save. “Lucky enough, that was enough.”
Notes: Red Wings GM Ken Holland said C Darren Helm has been assigned to Grand Rapids (AHL) for a two-week conditioning stint.