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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, March 24th (All times eastern)

St. Louis Blues (34-29-9) at Detroit Red Wings (36-23-13), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings will try to continue their surge to the playoffs tonight when they welcome the St. Louis Blues for a key battle at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings are holding onto the Western Conference's eighth and final postseason berth and are currently two points ahead of Calgary. Meanwhile, the Blues, who are eight points behind Detroit, have just about run out of time in their quest for the playoffs.

Detroit has struggled against the Blues this year, dropping four of the five encounters between the clubs. The troubles began in Stockholm, Sweden, where St. Louis swept a two-game, season-opening series from the Red Wings back in October.

However, the Red Wings are 5-0-1 in their last six outings overall and come into tonight off of back-to-back victories.

Detroit last played on Monday when it posted a 3-1 home win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Henrik Zetterberg scored twice and added an assist to lead the Red Wings to victory at Joe Louis Arena -- the site of Pittsburgh's 2-1 victory in Game 7 of last year's Stanley Cup Finals.

Valtteri Filppula had a goal and an assist, while Jimmy Howard stopped 26 shots for the Red Wings, who have also won nine of their last 12 outings.

"I think we've been playing way better lately," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "In order to play better and win you have to have a 60-minute effort and we had that here tonight."

Howard has started 19 straight games for the Red Wings and is expected to get his 20th in a row tonight. With a 29-15-9 record and a .924 save percentage this year, the rookie goaltender is a leading candidate for the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Detroit is 20-10-5 as the host this year and is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand tonight.

The Blues had a two-game winning streak halted Sunday evening, dropping a 3-2 decision to visiting Nashville. Patric Hornqvist and Dustin Boyd score 48 seconds apart in the third period to lift the Predators at Scottrade Center.

Carlo Colaiacovo had a goal and an assist while David Perron also lit the lamp for the Blues. Chris Mason stopped 36 shots in the loss.

"(The loss) is unacceptable. One team played to win. The other team just came to play," Mason said.

St. Louis has an excellent 22-11-4 record as the guest this year and has won four of five and six of its last eight road tests.

03/24 11:11:00 ET

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