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Blues aim to avoid three-game skid against Wings

by Dan Rosen /
RED WINGS (16-8-1) at BLUES (14-9-3)


Last 10: Detroit 7-3-0; St. Louis 6-2-2.

Season series: This is the second of six meetings between the Central Division rivals this season. The Blues beat the Red Wings, 2-1, on Nov. 15.

Big Story: The Red Wings seven-game winning streak came to an end Sunday in a 4-2 loss to Colorado. The Blues are winless in their last two games after reeling off four straight victories. Two points separate the Wings and Blues in the Central Division standings. They both trail the first-place Blackhawks.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: The Wings still don't know if Valtteri Filppula will be able to play against St. Louis. Filppula suffered a cut above his right ankle in the first period of Sunday's loss and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. He did not practice Monday, but would not rule himself out of playing Tuesday.

"It's just a little sore," Filppula said Monday. "I don't really even know how it happened. I just notice that I got hurt and I felt like I got cut. It wasn't that wide of a cut, but it was pretty deep. We're working on a skate, trying to get the pressure away from it. I feel fine other than that."

Filppula, who has 21 points in 25 games, had a five-game point streak heading into Sunday's game. Detroit had a 1-0 lead after the first period against Colorado, but was outshot, 28-18, and outscored, 4-1, over the final 40 minutes. 

Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start Tuesday after sitting out Sunday's loss to Colorado.

Blues: The Blues went 8-1-2 in their first 11 games under coach Ken Hitchcock, but they've dropped their first two games in December, including a 3-2 shootout loss to Colorado and a 5-2 regulation loss to the Blackhawks. The five goals the Blues allowed to Chicago were the most they've given up in their 13 games under Hitchcock.

The Blues allowed two or fewer goals in 11 of their first 12 games under Hitchcock. They had shutouts in three of those games. Their goals-against per game has dipped to 2.12 per game, which was second in the NHL behind Boston's 2.08 heading into Monday's games.

Brian Elliott, who was in net for Saturday's loss to Chicago, is expected to get the start against the Red Wings.

Who's Hot: Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk has 5 points (2-3-5) in the last three games and 14 points (6-8-14) over his last nine games. Blues winger David Perron scored a goal on his first shot in his return game Saturday after missing 97 games with a concussion.

Injury Report: The Blues could get defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo back in the lineup Tuesday. He has missed eight games with a hamstring injury. Evgeny Grachev (facial injury) is nearing a return while B.J. Crombeen (shoulder) has been practicing while wearing a no-contact jersey.

Stat Pack: Elliott has a 2.43 goals-against average in three career appearances against Detroit. Howard is 5-1-0 with a 2.49 GAA in his last six starts against the Blues.

Puck Drop: Filppula said he will begin wearing Kevlar socks to prevent future cuts around his ankles such as the one he suffered Sunday. To that, Red Wings coach Mike Babock said:

"I never spend a whole lot of time thinking about this one, but I like them not to get hurt, so whatever they've got to do for that. I mean, they have to be comfortable with that they wear, too. It's unfortunate."

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