Tomas Holmstrom had two goals to pace a balanced offensive attack as the Detroit Red Wings routed the Columbus Blue Jackets, 7-2, on Monday at Joe LouisArena.
With the victory, Detroit claimed a place in the postseason party for a franchise-record 21st consecutive season.
Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist, while Gustav Nyquist, Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart all scored for the Red Wings, who have won two straight after dropping six in a row.
Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi had four helpers apiece, while Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula chipped in with two assists each. Ty Conklin turned away 24 shots in the victory.
With 97 points, Detroit moved one ahead of the idle Nashville Predators and into fourth place in the Western Conference with six games remaining. Nashville and Detroit will meet on Friday.
Rick Nash had a goal and an assist and Mark Letestu scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three of their last four games. Steve Mason was torched for six goals on 28 shots, while Allen York gave up one goal on 11 shots.
The Red Wings struck first on the power play just 1:06 into the game after Zetterberg chased down a loose puck behind the Columbus net, looked up and found an unchecked Holmstrom, who one-timed it past an unsuspecting Mason.
Detroit struck again to extend its lead at 5:35 after Datsyuk sent a beautiful no-look backhand pass from the slot right to the tape of Nyquist to the left of the net, and the rookie easily tapped it home for his first career goal.
The Wings made it 3-0 at 8:55 of the first period after Datsyuk again found himself with the puck in the slot, and sent a deft backhand, between-the-legs pass to an onrushing Holmstrom, who fired it high past Mason for a power-play goal.
It was 4-0 for Detroit less than a minute later when Filppula threw a shot on goal that was stopped by Mason, but he left the rebound sitting to the right of the net and Hudler was there to pop it home.
Skating with an extra man due to a delayed penalty, Detroit made it 5-0 6:17 into the second period after Lidstrom ripped a slap shot from the right point that just snuck under the left pad of Mason
The Red Wings made it 6-0 at 8:34 of the second period after Bertuzzi sent a pass from the right corner to the slot for Stuart, who ripped a wrist shot top shelf over the shoulder of Mason, mercifully ending his night.
Detroit capped the offensive explosion 1:25 into the third period after Bertuzzi sent a pass into the slot for Zetterberg, who made a quick spin-o- rama feed to Datsyuk for the easy goal.
Letestu broke Conklin's shutout bid just 19 seconds later when he broke through the Red Wing defense and ripped it home with a wrist shot to the glove side, and Nash lit the lamp with a rocket slap shot to the far side at 10:32, but the Blue Jackets were way too far behind for any kind of comeback.
"We were just outworked, outskated, outbattled, however you want to describe it," Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards said. "We gave them some easy goals, some slam dunks, some tap-ins, but it came down to playing smart and playing hard, and we didn't do either."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun