- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - Chris Osgood made 23 saves for his 49th career shutout, and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 on Sunday to become the first team in NHL history to top 100 points in nine straight seasons.

Osgood, struggling to find his form before the playoffs, looked like his old self in his second shutout of the season. The victory came eight days after the Blue Jackets humiliated the reigning Stanley Cup champions 8-2 on their own ice, with Osgood surrendering seven goals _ also on 23 shots.

Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and an assist, and Marian Hossa and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for Detroit, the NHL leader with 101 points.

The Red Wings broke a tie with Montreal (1974-75 through 1981-82) for the NHL mark for consecutive 100-point seasons.

The loss ended the Blue Jackets’ winning streaks at four overall and three at home.

Columbus came into the game alone in sixth place in the Western Conference with 78 points, four ahead of Dallas and five in front of Edmonton and Nashville. The Blue Jackets are striving to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

The Red Wings played committed, efficient, almost desperate hockey _ almost as if they also were fighting for a playoff spot instead of playing out the string before their 17th consecutive postseason trip.

Only 29 seconds in, the Red Wings found the back of the net _ although Brad Stuart’s slap shot was waved off because teammate Tomas Holmstrom was standing in the crease.

No matter. The Red Wings still grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Hossa streaked up the left wing past two defensemen and was able to get off a shot on Mason. He then pounced on the rebound and slid it between Mason’s leg pads for his 35th of the year.

Detroit had a two-man advantage when Kronwall took a drop pass from Jiri Hudler and one-timed it past Mason from the left point.

The Blue Jackets picked up the pace a bit in the second period and were pressing on offense when Jason Williams’ centering pass was picked off by Samuelsson. He skated the length of the ice, faked as if he were going to pass to a trailing player, and then blistered a hard shot that slipped inside the far post.

Osgood, meanwhile, was up to all challenges. He stopped R.J. Umberger as he swooped in all alone in the second period, then later blocked a Rick Nash wrister. In the third, he smothered Kris Russell’s blast on a delayed penalty.

With most of the Blue Jackets tied in knots by Datsyuk, he fed Franzen in the third period who was unnoticed by the defense. Franzen skated in, faked the forehand and netted an easy backhand.

Notes:@ Several hundred fans were lined up halfway around the arena 2 hours before the game started, hoping to purchase reduced-price tickets. … Announced attendance was 18,685, the sixth sellout of the season. … Detroit C Valtteri Filppula was a scratch with back spasms. … Columbus needed a win to tie the franchise record for points (80) in a season, set a year ago. The Blue Jackets have 12 games remaining. … The Wings went 3-2-1 in the season series.

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