(SportsNetwork.com) - An important battle in the Eastern Conference playoff race is on tap Tuesday, as the Columbus Blue Jackets welcome the Detroit Red Wings for the key clash at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets and Red Wings enter Tuesday's showdown tied for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 71 points apiece. Both clubs have 18 games remaining in the regular season and they'll face each other once more when Detroit visits Columbus again on March 25.
"It says it right there. We both have 71 points," Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard told the Red Wings official web site. "All you have to do is look at the board and you see the significance of the game."
The clubs are just one point in front of Washington, two ahead of New Jersey and three points clear of Ottawa in the crowded postseason race. Both the Capitals and Devils are in action on Tuesday, while the Senators are idle.
Columbus began its game Monday night in Dallas, but the contest was postponed after Stars' forward Rich Peverley suffered a medical emergency while on the bench early in the first period.
Peverley, who had a procedure performed during the preseason to correct an irregular heartbeat, collapsed shortly after completing a shift as players from both teams frantically called for medical personnel to assist the nine- year veteran. The incident occurred with 13:37 remaining in the first period and the Blue Jackets holding a 1-0 lead.
Peverley was transported to a local hospital after being attended to for several minutes, and the Stars later issued a statement saying that he was conscious and his current condition is not life-threatening. Peverley regained consciousness before he left American Airlines Center and Stars head coach Lindy Ruff remarked that he was asking to get back in the game.
A makeup date for Monday's contest has yet to be determined.
Columbus enters Tuesday's game having won four of its last five outings overall and the club is 18-11-2 this season on home ice. The Blue Jackets are trying to make the postseason for just the second time in franchise history. Columbus qualified for the playoffs in the spring of 2009 but was swept out of the first round by Detroit.
The Blue Jackets had won four straight meetings against Detroit before the Red Wings snapped the skid with a 2-1 home win on Oct. 15. Despite that road loss from earlier in the season, Columbus has taken two in a row, three of four and four of its last six home meetings against Detroit.
The Red Wings enter Tuesday's showdown having lost three of their last four games and head coach Mike Babcock was less than pleased with his team's effort in Sunday's 3-0 road loss to the New York Rangers.
Detroit sent 30 shots on net in the loss, but were unable to get any of them past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
"(We) never made it hard on Lundqvist," Babcock said. "I was disappointed with our group. As a coaching staff, we didn't have them well prepared."
Howard allowed all three goals on 31 shots for Detroit, which is still playing without a group of key players due to injury, including captain Henrik Zetterberg and star forward Pavel Datsyuk.
Beginning with Tuesday's tilt, the Red Wings are playing two straight and three of their next four games on the road. Detroit is 17-11-4 as the visiting team this season, but has lost its last two games as the guest.