The suddenly-surging Columbus Blue Jackets will take aim at a fifth straight win when they close a home-and-home series Sunday in Detroit.
The Blue Jackets opened this series against the Red Wings with Saturday's 3-0 victory in Columbus. It was the fourth straight victory for the club, which had won its previous three games past regulation and is 4-0-2 over its last six outings. The Jackets had gone into overtime in five straight before Saturday's win.
Columbus' recent success has helped pull the club out of the Western Conference basement, as the Edmonton Oilers are now one point behind the Blue Jackets for that dubious distinction.
The Blue Jackets are 4-0-1 in their last five meetings against Detroit and they've already clinched this season's five-game series, which ends in Sunday's clash.
Sergei Bobrovsky earned his first NHL shutout with a 30-save performance in Saturday's win over the Red Wings. Bobrovsky has won all four games during Columbus' current streak and is 7-6-3 on the season.
Cam Atkinson, Jack Johnson and Nick Foligno provided the offense for the Blue Jackets.
"It was nice. We know how good they are, and we expect a different team on Sunday, but it was nice to get the first one at home in front of our fans," Foligno said.
The Blue Jackets won Saturday despite playing without forwards Artem Anisimov and Derek Dorsett, who were both injured Thursday against Vancouver. Anisimov sat out with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for Sunday, while Dorsett is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a fractured clavicle.
Columbus was able to complete a four-game homestand with a perfect record on Saturday, but the club has lost its last three tilts away from home. However, the Blue Jackets' last road win came Feb. 21 in Detroit.
The Blue Jackets last won four in a row from March 1-8 of last season. The club hasn't won five straight since Nov. 17-24, 2010.
Saturday's setback was Detroit's first regulation loss since Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. The 3-0 defeat stopped a four-game point streak and also prevented the Red Wings from winning three in a row for only the second time this season.
"I think they got a couple of gifts from us and capitalized on them," said Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk. "We had enough chances to win the game, but shot ourselves in the foot one too many times."
Jonas Gustavsson made just his second start of the season for the Red Wings on Saturday and he stopped 21 shots in the loss. Jimmy Howard, who is 10-3-1 with a 2.01 goals against average in his career against Columbus, is expected to get the start Sunday.
The Red Wings have won two straight on home ice and are 4-0-1 over their last five games as the host. They are 9-4-2 overall at Joe Louis Arena this season.