The Detroit Red Wings opened a mini-series against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a strong start, but were unable to carry the momentum.
The Blue Jackets struck twice a little more than a minute apart in the third period of Monday’s matinee at Little Caesars Arena, leaving the Wings to swallow a 3-2 loss.
Tuesday’s rematch at LCA may be heated after a melee broke out in the final minute. Columbus players shoved Bobby Ryan and Vladislav Namestnikov into the crease as Anthony Mantha fired a puck, which ended up hitting Ryan on its way into the net. That set off several fights, including one between former Michigan teammates Dylan Larkin and Zach Werenski.
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Ryan had both goals. He scored the first goal for the second straight game, taking a stride to scoop up the puck and swiping it in off a draw in the first period.
That lead stood until late in the second period, when Oliver Bjorkstrand beat Wings goalie Thomas Greiss, pouncing on a loose puck off a blocked shot.
The Blue Jackets outplayed the Wings to start the third period and were rewarded with a go-ahead goal when Alexandre Texier scored on a wrap-around. A minute and 16 seconds later, Pierre-Luc Dubois raced up the middle and scored to put the Wings behind by two goals.
Tyler Bertuzzi set up Mantha just past the midpoint as the Wings tried to rally, but Joonas Korpisalo made the save. Marc Staal had an open net with about three minutes to play but hit a post.
Greiss was pulled with 3:10 to go for the extra attacker.
Changes to lineup, taxi squad
Robby Fabbri, who scored the winning goal Saturday, is in the league’s COVID protocol along with grinder Adam Erne. They went on just as Christian Djoos, claimed off waivers Jan. 9, cleared quarantine. (In other waiver news, defenseman Alex Biega cleared waivers Monday.) Darren Helm also began the season on the pandemic protocol list, but has been cleared and just needs to regain his timing in practices before joining the lineup. Frans Nielsen subbed onto the fourth line with Luke Glendening and Mathias Brome. Nielsen drove to the net and tested Korpisalo with a backhand attempt in the opening minute of the game.
Big chance for big man
Fabbri’s absence was a big opportunity for Michael Rasmussen, who took over Fabbri’s spot centering the second line between Ryan and Filip Zadina. Rasmussen, 6 feet 6, played 62 games with the Wings in 2018-19, but spent last season in the minors adapting to playing center at the pro level. He began this season on the Wings’ taxi squad, but was called up under emergency conditions Monday morning. Rasmussen won the only draw he took in the first period, and it turned into an assist when Ryan one-timed the puck into Columbus’ net.
The Wings earned a man advantage a minute into the second period when Dylan Larkin drew an interference penalty on David Savard. Neither power play unit distinguished itself, spending more time chasing the puck than getting set up and trying to score. A second power play, coming in the third period after the Wings had fallen behind by two goals, also yielded no shots on net.
It is early in the season, but the Wings went 0-for-4 on power plays in their first two games and only generated three shots on net.
Contact Helene St. James at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings lose to Blue Jackets: Bobby Ryan scores, late melee