Series (Game 4 of 8)

Detroit leads 5-3

Game 1: Saturday, November 4th
Blue Jackets1Final
Red Wings4
Game 2: Monday, December 18th
Red Wings3Final
Blue Jackets4
Game 3: Wednesday, December 20th
Blue Jackets0Final
Red Wings5
Game 4: Thursday, December 28th
Red Wings7Final
Blue Jackets4
Game 5: Friday, January 19th
Red Wings1Final
Blue Jackets3
Game 6: Thursday, March 22nd
Blue Jackets2Final
Red Wings1
Game 7: Sunday, April 1st
Red Wings4Final
Blue Jackets1
Game 8: Tuesday, April 3rd
Blue Jackets0Final
Red Wings3

Red Wings 7

(23-9-5, 51 pts)

Blue Jackets 4

(14-20-3, 31 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 28, 2006

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
DET 2 1 47
CBJ 0 2 24

R. Lang (Red Wings - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

D. Cleary (Red Wings - RW): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

D. Vyborny (Blue Jackets - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Four third-period goals lift Red Wings past Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Detroit coach Mike Babcock said the Red Wings decided in the third period that they simply weren't going to lose.

Dan Cleary scored the winning goal with 5:19 left to complete his first career three-goal game and cap Detroit's 7-4 comeback victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Elias Says
Daniel Cleary
Daniel Cleary scored the first hat trick of his career in the Red Wings' 7-4 victory at Columbus. Cleary has scored 17 goals this season -- all since November 4, to rank second in the NHL during that time, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (19). Cleary's total of 17 goals by the end of December is rare for a player who didn't score any in October. The last player to do so was Dave Lumley of the Oilers, who played only three games without scoring during Oct. 1981 but tallied 20 goals by New Year's Day.

It was Cleary's third multiple-goal game this season, compared to just one in 406 prior NHL games.

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"Obviously we didn't play great at the start of the third," said Cleary, who has a career-high 17 goals. "We kept pushing and stayed with it."

Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist for Detroit, winners of five of their last seven. Henrik Zetterberg and Danny Markov each had a goal and an assist. Robert Lang assisted on all three of Cleary's goals, and Brett Lebda had two assists.

David Vyborny had a goal and an assist for Columbus, which scored four straight goals to pull ahead 4-3 early in the final period. Ron Hainsey, Dan Fritsche and Adam Foote also scored for the Blue Jackets.

"Obviously things were going wrong," Babcock said. "It would have been easy for us to fold, but we didn't. We scored and got it started, and we went from there."

Detroit regained the lead with four straight goals -- including an empty-netter -- in a 7:13 span.

Datsyuk skated around three Blue Jackets players and beat goalie Fredrik Norrena from the low left circle at 11:24 to make it 4-4.

"Nobody held me up so I kept going to the net, and I shot it," Datsyuk said of his ninth of the season.

With Hainsey in the penalty box for hooking, Cleary scored off a deflection of Lang's screened snap shot from the left circle to give the Red Wings the lead with 5:19 remaining.

"Playing with Lang has been a great opportunity for me," said Cleary, who has seven goals and two assists in four games against Columbus this season. "He keeps getting me the puck all the time."

Detroit entered the game 0-or-13 the last three games on the power play.

Datsyuk made it 6-4 4 minutes later, banking a shot from behind the net off Norrena.

"I tried to flip it out front to see what would happen," Datsyuk said. "I was surprised it went in."

Detroit lulled the Blue Jackets to sleep the first half of the game with dominant puck possession and took a 3-0 lead.

"They played about the best I've ever seen them play in the first 30 minutes," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said.

But Columbus came to life with two quick strikes in a 1:28 span late in the second period.

Hainsey threw the puck at the net from the low left circle, sneaking it through goaltender Chris Osgood to make it 3-1 at 12:32.

Moments later, Vyborny stole the puck and beat Osgood with a nifty backhand deke to cut the Red Wings' lead to 3-2. Vyborny has 16 points in his last 11 games.

Fritsche and Foote scored power-goals 2:02 apart early in the third period to give Columbus a 4-3 lead.

"We work that hard to come back from a deficit we have to find a way to win the game," Foote said.

Cleary opened the scoring at 4:21 of the first period off a pass from Lang after a Detroit forecheck won the puck.

After a turnover by Blue Jackets defenseman Duvie Westcott, Lang found Cleary again in the slot for his second goal of the game.

Zetterberg made it 3-0 at 8:45 of the middle period with a chip shot over a downed Norrena for his 15th. Lebda, zipped a cross-ice pass to Zetterberg alone in front.

"Things went wrong and we were able battle back," Babcock said. "We were professional and we played with composure."

Game notes

Detroit D Chris Chelios did not play. He sustained a lower-body injury Wednesday night against Minnesota. ... Detroit has played Columbus and Minnesota three times each in its last six games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press