COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — No one really expected the Columbus Blue Jackets to dramatically improve after having the worst record in the NHL last season and then trading star player Rick Nash.
One of the players picked up in that deal is giving fans hope, however.
Artem Anisimov scored twice in the second period, and Steve Mason stopped 32 shots to lead the Blue Jackets past the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 on Saturday night.
"I'm still learning Artie and his game," coach Todd Richards said. "Maybe as he starts to figure out his teammates and they figure him out, there may be a lot more there."
Anisimov was acquired last July in the blockbuster deal that sent Nash to the New York Rangers. The Blue Jackets also dealt a minor league defenseman and a conditional third-round pick to the Rangers for Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.
Now Anisimov leads the offense-starved Blue Jackets with four goals.
He chose to talk more about what the entire team did than what he accomplished.
"We established the forecheck early and we just kept going, kept going," the 24-year-old center said. "We kept the momentum and just kept going."
Mark Letestu added a short-handed goal, and James Wisniewski also scored for the Blue Jackets before leaving with a concussion after he struck the end boards with his back early in the second period. Fedor Tyutin had two assists.
Mason, who earned his first win of the season, overcame an early goal by Johan Franzen. Damien Brunner added his fourth goal in the final seconds.
"The guys did a great job stepping up with the extra ice time," he said, referring to the loss of Wisniewski on the blue line. "You couldn't be more happy with the way the guys played. It was the first full 60-minute effort that we've been looking for, and it was nice to get it at home."
The Blue Jackets started the second period on the power play, but they were at their best 5 on 5.
Early in the period, Columbus lost Wisniewski. He was chasing the puck when Detroit's Justin Abdelkader made contact with Nick Foligno, who then bumped into Wisniewski. He spun and hit the end boards hard, back first.
Wisniewski lay face down on the ice for a couple of minutes before medical personnel helped him turn over and eventually sit up. He was helped off the ice, skating between two teammates.
"It's awful to see a guy lying there like he was," teammate Jack Johnson said. "Your heart kind of stops for a minute. You could hear a pin drop in the arena. Once we saw him talking and move, it's a huge sigh of relief."