Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn't brush aside the significance of Thursday's game.

His club was winless in four games and hosting the team with the worst record in the NHL.

“We had to win here today,'' Babcock said. “It’s just one of those games you’ve got to win.''

Instead, the Red Wings lost in a frustrating, stunning and familiar fashion. Vinny Prospal scored with 24.7 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings blew a 2-0 lead for the third time in five games. Once again, their mistakes led to easy goals for the opposition. And they had ample opportunity on the power play, including two chances in the third, but failed to capitalize.

Now they are winless in five (0-3-2).

“You have to find ways to win home games, and now we have two points out of a possible 10,'' Babcock said. “Any way you look at it, that’s a slippery slope.

“We can make all the excuses we want, the bottom line is we had to find a way to win tonight.”

Prospal capped a three-on-two break with a spin move and backhand shot to beat Jimmy Howard, who was back after leaving midway through the first period on Tuesday due to blurred vision. The rush started when Damien Brunner had a shot blocked at the other end of the ice.