BLUES (9-4-3) at RED WINGS (11-3-1)
: Fox Sports-Midwest; Fox Sports-Detroit.
: St. Louis 6-3-1; Detroit 8-2-0.
: This is the first of six meetings between the Central Division rivals. St. Louis went 4-1-1 against Detroit last season.
: It's not far-fetched to think these teams will be in the hunt for the division crown all season long. The veteran-laden Wings have won eight of their last 10 games, while Davis Payne, who, despite a bump in the road, continues to do a tremendous job with the up-and-coming Blues, a team that solved its goaltending issues last summer with the acquisition of Jaroslav Halak
: St. Louis has earned points in 12 of its first 16 games and can move into a first-place tie in the Central Division should it beat the Red Wings in regulation Wednesday night. All this despite the fact that the Blues are winless in their last four games, a skid that continued on Monday night in a 6-3 loss at Colorado.
"We weren't going to go 82-0," Blues forward Alexander Steen
said after his team's latest loss. "It seems that every time we got one they got one going the other way. This is a tough one to swallow."
: Detroit extended its winning streak to three games on Saturday night, when they skated past the Avalanche in a 3-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena. The Wings are in the midst of a five-game homestand as they hope to widen the gap within the division.
"I enjoy winning," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "It doesn't matter much how, I just like winning. Obviously, it's going not bad for us right now."
: Blues forward Brad Boyes has goals in back-to-back games, while Carlo Coliacovo returned from injury Monday night and promptly had a goal and an assist. … Wings forward Daniel Cleary
has 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists) in his last seven games and goals in his last five. Nicklas Lidstrom
has an 11-game point streak. He has 2 goals and 12 assists during that span. Pavel Datsyuk
had a 10-game point streak snapped against the Avs.
: Blues forward T.J. Oshie
(ankle) is out, while David Perron
(concussion) is day-to-day. Defensemen Roman Polak
(wrist) and Barret Jackman
(knee) are out. … Kris Draper (groin) is out for the Red Wings, while Chris Osgood (groin) is probable.
: After going 6-1-1 in his first eight starts, Halak is 0-2-1 in his last three. He's allowed 12 goals on 64 shots in the three losses. … Todd Bertuzzi
leads the Red Wings with a plus-11 rating and ranks fourth on the team in points (14).
: "They're known to people as a talented team but they're a hardworking team, too. "They have a lot of skill but they have lots of work ethic, too." -- Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj on the Red Wings