A couple inches lower, and the puck would have hit Dan Cleary right in the eye. Instead, he needed just a short trip to the locker room before helping the Red Wings win yet again.
Cleary scored twice and Dominik Hasek made 15 saves to help Detroit tie a franchise record with its ninth victory in a row, a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
Henrik Zetterberg scored his 13th goal of the season with 1:28 left to extend his season-opening points streak to 16 games, the longest in team history. Mikael Samuelsson had two assists.
Two of Detroit's goals came on the power play.
``The power play worked for us,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. ``But I thought as the game went on, we got better and better.''
Cleary was hit above the right eye on a clearing attempt by Rick Nash 5:59 into the second period and was helped into the locker room. Cleary returned to start the third period wearing a visor on his helmet.
``It's good,'' he said. ``I'm just lucky enough that it wasn't a little lower.''
And 8:40 into the period, Cleary scored when he put in his own rebound after taking a pass from Kirk Maltby in front of the net. That made it 3-1.
``That third goal was a killer,'' Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said.
In other NHL games, it was: Atlanta 4, Florida 1; Toronto 3, Buffalo 0; Chicago 4, St. Louis 2; Vancouver 2, Colorado 1, OT; and Anaheim 3, San Jose 2, in a shootout.
At Detroit, Cleary had been on the ice for the Red Wings' first goal, 7 minutes into the first period, a power-play effort that had been credited to Brett Lebda, who shot the puck from the top of the right circle. But the play was reviewed and the goal was given to Cleary, who now has five for the season.
Nash scored for Columbus, and Pascal Leclaire stopped 32 shots.
``They're a team that no matter how much skill they have, they work hard,'' said Blue Jackets captain and defenseman Adam Foote.
Nash tied it at 1 early in the second period on a 5-on-3 power play, scoring his 11th goal of the season off a goal-mouth scramble.
Tomas Holmstrom's power-play goal with 6:07 left in the period put the Red Wings ahead for the second time. He stuffed in a loose puck for his ninth goal.
Zetterberg continued his team-record 16-game scoring streak to start a season when he put in his 13th goal with 1:28 left.
Hasek returned after missing five games because of a hip injury.
``Anytime you come back after two weeks, you get a little nervous,'' he said. ``But I felt fine.''
Thrashers 4, Panthers 1
At Sunrise, Fla., Rookie goalie Ondrej Pavelec stopped 36 shots and Ilya Kovalchuk scored his eighth goal in his past four games for Atlanta.
Vyacheslav Kozlov, Chris Thorburn and Marian Hossa also scored for the Thrashers, who improved to 7-3 under interim head coach Don Waddell after starting the season 0-6 under Bob Hartley. Bobby Holik had two assists.
Maple Leafs 3, Sabres 0
At Buffalo, N.Y., Andrew Raycroft made 30 saves for his sixth career shutout, and Mats Sundin had a goal and an assist in Toronto's win over the Sabres.
Bryan McCabe and Boyd Devereaux also scored to help the Maple Leafs, last in the NHL in goals against entering the game, win for the second time in three games.
Blackhawks 4, Blues 2
At Chicago, Rookie Patrick Kane and Jim Vandermeer scored power-play goals and the Blackhawks won their second straight.
Rene Bourque scored short-handed and Yanic Perreault added an empty-net goal for the Blackhawks. Goalie Patrick Lalime, making consecutive starts for the first time this season, stopped 23 shots.
Canucks 2, Avalanche 1, OT
At Vancouver, British Columbia, Henrik Sedin scored his second goal of the game in overtime to lift the Canucks to their third straight win.
Sedin, whose first goal came on a controversial high stick early in the second period, was attempting to hit twin brother Daniel Sedin with a backdoor pass, but the puck deflected off the stick of Colorado defenseman Kurt Sauer and past a helpless Jose Theodore.
Ducks 3, Sharks 2, SO
At Anaheim, Calif., Andy McDonald scored the tying goal with 14:04 left in the third period and beat Evgeni Nabokov again for the clinching goal in the shootout for Anaheim.
McDonald got the puck in the neutral zone from Kent Huskins, sped past Jonathan Cheechoo along the right boards and beat Nabokov to the stick side with a short wrist shot for the equalizer.

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