Blue Jackets 4, Red Wings 1
DETROIT (AP)—Rick Nash made his final bid for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.
Nash, tied with Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk for the NHL lead, also had an assist. Trevor Letowski and Anders Eriksson joined Nash with a goal and assist apiece. David Vyborny got the other Columbus goal, and Tyler Wright had two assists.
The NHL’s leading goal scorer each season receives the Richard trophy.
“It was great to see him score,” Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. “It would have been really nice on that breakaway (late in the game, when Nash was stopped by Detroit goaltender Manny Legace). He played a real good game and he didn’t play a selfish game trying to score goals.”
Nash entered the game tied for the goal-scoring lead with Kovalchuk and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla. Kovalchuk scored in Atlanta’s 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay. Calgary did not play.
Atlanta’s season also is over. Playoff-bound Calgary finishes the regular season Sunday in Anaheim.
“I can’t control it, which is kind of nice,” said Nash, only 19 and in his second NHL season. “I did my job tonight, I got one. Kovalchuk did his job, he got one. Now it’s in Iginla’s hand to make the move. If he gets two, he deserves it.”
Steve Thomas scored the only goal for Detroit, which finished the regular season with the NHL’s highest point total (109). The Red Wings are assured of home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“You want to go in (to the playoffs) with a nice victory,” said Detroit defenseman Mathieu Dandenault. “But it didn’t happen that way. I don’t think a team like this will put too much into it and just move on.”
Nash broke the tie at 4:07 of the second period, beating Legace from the bottom of the right circle.
“To come out and beat the best team in the league at home the last game, we really leave on a good note,” Nash said.
Letowski made it 3-1 when he put a shot over Legace from in close at 7:08. Vyborny added his goal with eight seconds remaining in the game.
Eriksson got a power-play goal for Columbus with 6:27 left in the first period, and Thomas tied it for Detroit just 50 seconds later.
“The value of it, I guess, wasn’t a whole lot,” Detroit coach Dave Lewissaid. “But we got through it.”
Red Wings’ D Nicklas Lidstrom signed a two-year contract, according to general manager Ken Holland. Financial terms weren’t announced … Blue Jackets’ D Rostislav Klesla missed the game because of a charley horse sustained Thursday night against Detroit in Columbus. Columbus also was without centers Alexander Svitov (ankle), Todd Marchant (groin) and Manny Malhotra (ankle). … Neither Maltby nor Lidstrom was in the Detroit lineup. … Dandenault returned after missing 15 games with a broken foot. … Before the game, the Red Wings were presented with the Presidents’ Trophy, which goes tothe team with the NHL’s best record.