BLUES (6-1-0) at RED WINGS (3-2-1)
TV: NHLN-US, FS-Midwest, FS-Detroit
Season series: It's the second of five meetings between these Central Division rivals. The Blues blitzed the Red Wings in St. Louis on opening night, winning 6-0 behind two goals each from Vladimir Tarasenko and Chris Stewart. Jaroslav Halak faced just 14 shots.
Big story: Detroit gets its chance to answer back after a performance uncharacteristic of what this franchise has represented for the better part of the past two decades. St. Louis, despite its blazing start, still trails Chicago by a point in the division and conference standings, potentially the difference between being a No. 1 seed vs. a No. 4 at season's end.
Blues: One thing a shortened season means is less time for rookies to make an impression, but Tarasenko is establishing an early candidacy for the Calder Trophy. He capped a three-goal first period for St. Louis on Thursday with his fifth goal in seven games, powering the Blues to a 4-1 win in Columbus. That's tops among NHL rookies, as is his plus-6 rating. Tarasenko has nine points to lead the Blues and tie Cory Conacher of the Lightning for the rookie lead. Against the Blue Jackets, he was one of 11 Blues to record a point.
"That's what our whole team is about," said defenseman Barret Jackman, whose goal opened the scoring. "We're not a team that relies on three or six guys. It's going to be a team effort every night. Some guys put the puck in the net one night and it's going to be picked up by other guys another night."
Red Wings: Slick passing plays between Pavel Datsyuk and one of his teammates is nothing new in Detroit, and Valtteri Filppula finished off a pair of them in Tuesday night's 4-1 win over Dallas. What's different in Hockeytown is that the Red Wings now possess a more physical element in ex-Predator pest Jordin Tootoo, who dropped the gloves twice in the first period against the Stars. Henrik Zetterberg added a power-play goal and an assist, while Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots.
"I just expected him to get out and forecheck, but he took it upon himself to have a couple bouts," coach Mike Babcock said of Tootoo. "We don't mind that either, but we'd just as soon he forecheck. He's a guy that gives us a different dimension than we've had, and he's physical out there, and guys know he's out there."
Who's hot: Patrik Berglund (3-2-5), Tarasenko (2-2-4) and Vladimir Sobotka (1-3-4) have four-game points streaks for the Blues. … Zetterberg has two goals and five assists during a five-game points streak for the Red Wings, while rookie Damien Brunner has three goals and an assist during a four-game points streak. Datsyuk (2-6-8) leads the team in scoring and already has three multi-point games this season.
Injury report: St. Louis defenseman Wade Redden missed Thursday's game with flu-like symptoms. … Detroit forward Darren Helm (back) and goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) are day-to-day. Forwards Jan Mursak (collarbone) and Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and defensemen Ian White (leg) and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) are on injured reserve.
|Back to top|