Gavin Bayreuther scored his first NHL goal since 2018 and Nathan Gerbe picked up his first of the season, too, but the Columbus Blue Jackets gave up five straight goals in Friday night's 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Bayreuther's goal came less than two minutes into the game, on his first shift of the night. Helpers came from Liam Foudy and Patrik Laine, their 4th and 10th assists of the season, respectively.
Columbus would make it 2-0 in the second period when Nathan Gerbe took a beautiful pass from Eric Robinson to beat Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss.
The 2-0 lead would be short-lived, as so many leads for the Blue Jackets have gone this season. Rookie Joe Veleno cut the lead in half at the 13:50 mark of the second period. The Red Wings would tie the game at 2-2 less than a minute later on a goal by Danny DeKeyser, and take the lead on Jakub Vrana's 18th goal of the season just two minutes later.
With the game still at 3-2 in the final minutes, Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov would add a pair of empty-net goals to give Detroit the three-goal victory.
Matiss Kivlenieks was between the pipes for the Blue Jackets for the first time this season, and stopped 31 of 34 Detroit shots in the loss. After the game, Columbus head coach John Tortorella said that Kivlenieks would start in Saturday's season finale, also against the Red Wings.
"He's earned his opportunities. He's going to play tomorrow," said Tortorella.
For the game, the Blue Jackets were outshot 36-24. It was also the worst performance of the season for Columbus in at the dot, with the Blue Jackets winning just 29% of faceoffs for the game.
The loss puts Detroit one point ahead of Columbus in the standings, with the season finale for both team's coming Saturday night at Nationwide Arena. A regulation win for the Blue Jackets would see Columbus finish ahead of Detroit in the standings, but any other result would mean the Blue Jackets finish in last in the temporary Central Division.
The Blue Jackets take the ice for the final time this season Saturday night at Nationwide Arena. Puck drop against the Detroit Red Wings is set for 7:00 P.M.