DETROIT - As the Blues get set to meet the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m. CT, NBCSN, KMOX), the club is getting some great production from one of its top lines.
The trio of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny and Troy Brouwer combined for eight points in Monday’s 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins and were led by Stastny, who had one goal and three assists in the win. It was Stastny’s sixth career four-point game and first with the Blues.
“They put every puck deep, two of the goals they scored were a direct result of pressure on the forecheck,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They put pressure on the coverage, forced mistakes, created an odd-man situation on the net area. Good players finish like that. Their work ethic, continuity and proper puck management allowed them to be a good line in that game.”
“It’s nice,” Stastny said of getting a four-point effort. “Plus you get the win. We played a good third period and we’ll take that momentum and go from there.”
The Blues have managed to remain competitive this season despite a myriad of injuries. So far this season, the Blues have accumulated 173 man-games lost to injury.
The Red Wings, though, are battling quite a few injuries themselves. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall is out after undergoing surgery on his knee and forward Drew Miller is out 4-6 months after having surgery on his ACL.
The Blues will get Carl Gunnarsson back in the lineup tonight after missing four games with an upper-body injury. In addition, Jaden Schwartz and Magnus Paajarvi joined the team for the morning skate today but are not ready to return.
For now though, the Blues are just looking forward to tonight’s matchup with the players that are healthy.
“It’s always fun,” Stastny said of facing the Red Wings. “Whether it’s 20 years ago or 10 years ago, there’s always going to be that history when you battle a team for so long. You always get excited, you know it’s going to be good game with a good atmosphere. It’s an 8 p.m. (ET) puck drop, so you do have to wait an extra hour to play.
“We’ll be ready to go.”
FIRST TIME AT THE JOE
Five Blues players will get a look at Joe Louis Arena for the first time in their careers tonight in Detroit.
Robby Fabbri, Colton Parayko, Joel Edmundson, Ty Rattie and Jordan Binnington have yet to play a game at The Joe, the League’s third-oldest building behind New York’s Madison Square Garden and Edmonton’s Rexall Place.
“My first time out there, when I stepped on the ice for the pregame skate, I definitely took a few seconds to look around,” Edmundson said. “You can definitely smell the beer floating around the rink, but the boards are all wood and there’s extra pop coming off them. Defensemen might have to look for a different play because of that. The corners are tight, the crowd is on top of you. It should be fun.”
“It’s one of those experiences you dream of,” Fabbri added. “Playing guys like (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg who have been around awhile - that I grew up watching - now to play them in this arena is going to feel pretty cool.”
Hitchcock said Parayko was sick this morning and will be a game-time decision for tonight. He also said Dmitrij Jaskin would be in the lineup and wasn’t sure who would sit out.
Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer
Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Patrik Berglund - David Backes - Ty Rattie
Dmtrij Jaskin - Kyle Brodziak - Scottie Upshall / Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk
Joel Edmundson - Andre Benoit / Colton Parayko
Teemu Pulkkinen scored the game-winning goal with 18 seconds left in overtime in the first meeting between these teams, lifting the Red Wings to a 4-3 win against the Blues on Nov. 21. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues in that game.
The Blues have won three of their last four games at Joe Louis Arena and have earned points in all four (3-0-1).
Tonight’s game will be the 279th regular-season meeting between the teams. The Blues have only played the Blackhawks more (298).
In his last game against the Red Wings, Brian Elliott earned a 28-save shutout on Apr. 7, 2013.