Red Wings-Blues Preview
The St. Louis Blues have some work to do to get into playoff
contention but they’re heading in the right direction.
Until their most recent game, the same couldn’t be said for the
Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings.
After snapping a four-game skid in stunning style, the Red Wings
will try to deny the host Blues a fourth straight victory Saturday
St. Louis’ hopes of making a second playoff appearance in five
seasons took a serious blow during a recent 1-7-0 slump that lasted
two weeks. The Blues (31-28-9) have bounced back from that stretch
by scoring at least four goals in three consecutive games.
Andy McDonald had one of those scores and two assists in the
most recent one, a 4-1 victory over Montreal on Thursday, and
Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 shots against his former team. That win
put St. Louis 10 points behind the Western Conference’s top eight
“It was a great team effort and a great team win,” Halak said.
“Hopefully, we can keep growing.”
While the Blues have been growing, the Red Wings had seen their
division lead shrink from 10 points to five during an 0-2-2 skid to
open this month. Detroit (40-20-8) seemed headed for another loss
as it trailed visiting Edmonton 1-0 in the final minute of
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s shot, however, bounced off
the stick of the Oilers’ Andrew Cogliano and into the net with 24.8
seconds left. Pavel Datsyuk then gave his team a 2-1 victory by
scoring with 42 seconds remaining in overtime.
“The last two weeks, it’s almost like we were one of the worst
teams in the league,” forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “We’ve got to
realize we’re a good team. When we have our chances, got to believe
in ourselves and make plays instead of just panicking and stressing
and doing the wrong plays.”
Detroit has made mostly the right plays in its matchups with St.
Louis this season, prevailing in three of four.
After the Red Wings blew a 3-0 lead on Jan. 20, Darren Helm
scored 1:51 into overtime to give the team a 4-3 victory at the
Scottrade Center. The Red Wings’ attempt at a similar rally in that
same building fell short Dec. 23.
Trailing 4-1 after 26 minutes, Detroit scored twice in the
second period but couldn’t find the equalizer. Despite their recent
success in the series, the Red Wings are 2-2-1 in their last five
trips to St. Louis.
Zetterberg has six points in those games and a team-best eight
this season against the Blues. He has 21 goals and 34 assists
against St. Louis – his most in both categories against any
The trip to Scottrade Center, then, might be just what the Red
Wings’ leading scorer needs to snap a season-worst, five-game point
St. Louis’ Patrik Berglund has a team-best six points (three
goals, three assists) this season versus Detroit and four in his
last four overall games.
He might have to try to earn his next points against Jimmy
Howard, who has a 2.48 goals-against average during four straight
wins over the Blues.
Halak, meanwhile, is 1-2-1 with a 4.49 GAA in four career
matchups with the Red Wings, while backup Ty Conklin is 2-2-0 with
a 2.61 GAA in six appearances against his former team.