The Columbus Blue Jackets hope that getting back two players from injury can help them earn the first victory of their current road trip as they visit the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday evening.
The Blue Jackets have opened a six-game swing with three straight losses out west, falling to Los Angeles, Phoenix and Anaheim. They wrap the road trip with contests in Detroit, St. Louis and Chicago and will have the services of defenseman Cam Atkinson and forward Artem Anisimov beginning on Thursday.
Atkinson has missed the past 13 games with a lower body injury and will add depth to a blue line that also saw the recent return of James Wisniewski following a brief absence due to the birth of his first child.
Anisimov is also slated to get back in action after missing two straight following a foot injury suffered when blocking a shot against the Kings.
It wasn't all good news for Columbus, which placed center Brandon Dubinsky on injured reserve due to a sprained knee suffered versus the Coyotes.
Two of Anisimov's four goals this season came in a 4-2 home win over the Red Wings on Feb. 2. That helped the Blue Jackets avenge a 4-3 shootout defeat to Detroit in Columbus on Jan. 21, but the Red Wings have still won six of the previous nine encounters.
Columbus has also lost three straight and 12 of its past 14 in Detroit.
The Blue Jackets have been out of action since a 3-2 loss to the Ducks on Monday. Vinny Prospal scored 3:30 into the game for Columbus, but Anaheim lit the lamp twice in a 21-second span near the end of the first and never trailed.
"They scored two quick goals and we came up short again. We have to find a way to score more goals," said Derick Brassard, who also had a goal.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots in defeat, the Blue Jackets' sixth in their last seven games. They have also dropped six of seven on the road this season.
The Red Wings hope to halt a four-game slide (0-2-2) and were dealt a 4-3 overtime loss by the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. Pavel Datsyuk tied the game with 6:30 remaining in regulation, but the Preds' Shea Weber found the back of the net 44 seconds into the extra frame.
The deciding goal was scored on Jonas Gustavsson, who made 16 saves after relieving Jimmy Howard in the first period. Howard left with what the team called an upper body injury.
"He got hit in practice I guess, and I didn't know about that," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Howard. "He wasn't seeing good, or something like that. I was watching the game and someone told me. We made the switch and tried to buy some time for Gus to get ready and put him in."
Datsyuk and Dan Cleary both had a goal and an assist, while former Predator Jordin Tootoo also lit the lamp in the loss.
In addition to Howard, Mikael Samuelsson was hit in the hand during morning skate on Tuesday and did not play against the Preds. It was the latest blow for the Red Wings, who currently have five players on IR.