Detroit — Three games in four days, three impressive victories for the Red Wings.
They didn’t look like a tired team at all, and received another fine goaltending effort from Jonas Gustavsson, while defeating Columbus pn Tuesday, 2-1.
Gustavsson, getting his second consecutive start in a span of two days, stopped 36 shots, including a game-saver on defenseman Jack Johnson (Ann Arbor/Michigan) late in the third period.
“We got really good goaltending until we got our legs in the first period,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Then our competitive juices got going. Gus was outstanding two nights in a row.
“He made a huge save on Johnson down the stretch; our specialty teams were real strong.”
Gustavsson got the start as goalie Jimmy Howard remains out because of a bruised left catching hand. Howard could be ready in time for Thursday’s game in Colorado.
For Gustavsson, it was his first back-to-back victories since January 2012.
“I felt good,” Gustavsson said. “Obviously we had a game (Monday) and it was different playing the back to back but you just prepare yourself and be ready and get a good first period, that’s usually the key in games like these.
“The guys played real well in front of me.”
Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi (power play) scored Red Wings (5-2-0, 10 points) goals.
This was the Red Wings’ second three-games-in-four-days stretch already in this young season.
Last time, the Red Wings capped the stretch with a disappointing loss in Boston playing with little energy.
That wasn’t the case this time, with the Red Wings looking as spry as they did Saturday when they opened this three-game string with a victory over Philadelphia (then defeating the Bruins on Monday in Boston)
“We needed to get off to a good start and fortunately we did,” Bertuzzi said. “Just move your feet. This early in the season we shouldn’t be all that tired. We’re well conditioned, and we had a real good second and third periods.”
Cam Atkinson (power play) scored for Columbus (2-3-0, four points).
Bertuzzi’s second goal of the season, at 11:14 of the second period, put the Red Wings ahead 2-1.
Henrik Zetterberg fired a shot on net as Bertuzzi was tangling with Columbus players in front of Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bertuzzi’s stick appeared to be the last one to touch the puck before slipping past Bobrovsky.
“I don’t even know if I scored, to be honest with you,” Bertuzzi said. “I’m glad we got the win.”
The goal regained the lead for the Red Wings after Columbus had tied the game on a great individual effort by Atkinson.
Finding a sliver of room as the Red Wings were setting their penalty kill, Atkinson sped through the zone and lifted a shot at Gustavsson.
The puck bounced just to the side of Gustavsson, with Atkinson pouncing on the rebound, his second goal, at 7:48.
Alfredsson opened the scoring with his first goal as a Red Wing.
Two seconds after a Red Wings power play expired, Alfredsson capped a 4-on-2 rush one-timing a loose puck past Bobrovsky at 5:05 of the first period.
But the Red Wings came righ back with Bertuzzi’s goal then, helped by Gustavsson’s goaltending, earned an impressive victory.
“A great character win,” defenseman Kyle Quincey said. “These guys played us so good last year, we knew this would be a tough game. This was a good win for us, a character win.”