A win in the second game of a home-and-home series on Saturday at Nationwide Arena would put further distance between the Red Wings and the second-place Dallas Stars. The Stars, who visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, trail Detroit by nine points with five games left.
Detroit got closer to clinching the top spot in the conference for the second consecutive season after winning 6-5 in a shootout over Columbus on Friday.
“It’s nerve-racking, especially after you’ve played awful in net during the night and then have a shootout,” Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace said after making 31 saves in the game and five more in the shootout.
Second-leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg left Friday’s win in the second period with an upper body injury and underwent precautionary tests at a hospital—his status is uncertain. He may join leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk (lower body injury) and Mathieu Schneider (groin) as spectators for Saturday’s contest.
Detroit is also chasing its second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, holding a six-point advantage on Eastern Conference leaders Ottawa and Carolina.
With a victory the Red Wings would eclipse the NHL record of 28 road wins, set by the 1998-99 New Jersey Devils. They have already secured their fifth Central Division title in a row.
Detroit has won six of its last eight games overall, with the two losses coming in shootouts to Columbus and Chicago.
The Blue Jackets saw their franchise-record six-game winning streak come to an end against the Red Wings, despite Rick Nash’s first-career hat trick.
Columbus has been eliminated from the playoff race, but has played the spoiler role well. They defeated Detroit, the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators during their winning streak.