NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 20th
(All times eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (28-12-6) at St. Louis Blues (22-17-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Blues were sparked last time out with the return of one
of their injured forwards. The Red Wings could get a similar boost tonight if
goaltender Jimmy Howard can return to the ice.
Detroit hopes to avoid a fourth loss in five games and a second in a row to
St. Louis Thursday night at Scottrade Center.
Though the Red Wings still lead the Central Division with 62 points -- six
more than the second-place Predators -- they have dropped two straight and
three of their last four while dealing with a mass of injuries. Forwards Tomas
Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Modano and Dan Cleary, as well as defenseman
Brad Stuart and goaltender Chris Osgood, are all out for the club.
Howard, meanwhile, missed his second straight game on Tuesday, a 4-1 setback
in Pittsburgh, due to a bruised right knee, but was able to practice on
Wednesday and could get the start tonight. He is 4-2-1 with a 2.67 goals-
against average in his career versus the Blues.
Joey MacDonald started in Howard's place on Tuesday and gave up three goals on
28 shots, including one on a first-period penalty shot. Johan Franzen scored
his team's only goal in the second frame.
"We can't start behind each night, especially against good teams," said Red
Wings head coach Mike Babcock after his club lost its third straight road
While Detroit has struggled on the road, St. Louis halted a three-game home
losing streak on Tuesday, besting Los Angeles, 2-1. Patrik Berglund scored and
defenseman Erik Johnson notched the game-winner with 6:47 left in the third
"It's not going to take anything pretty, I just threw it at the net," said
Johnson of his goal, a soft wrister from the right circle.
Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves for the Blues, who have won two of three since a
five-game slide and had T.J. Oshie back in the lineup for the first time since
Nov. 10 after a broken left ankle sidelined him for 31 games. Though Oshie did
not log a point and was a minus-one, he skated in nearly 18 minutes of action.
St. Louis was also just happy to get one of its injured players back as it
remains without both Andy McDonald and David Perron due to concussions. Also,
defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was hit in the face by a puck in Tuesday's win and
was placed on injured reserve.
The Blues are four points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference and
were outscored 12-5 in losing their first two games to the Red Wings this year
before a 4-3 home on Dec. 23 halted a three-game series losing streak.
Halak has been in net for all three meetings this year, posting a 4.70 GAA.
Detroit has lost two straight at Scottrade Center, but still has 16 wins in
its last 23 visits to St. Louis.
01/20 11:04:45 ET