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Blues-Red Wings Preview @NHLdotcom
Blues-Red Wings Preview

GAME: St. Louis Blues (12-30-8) at Detroit Red Wings (34-13-5).

TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Detroit Red Wings look to extend their lead in the Western Conference when they face the rebuilding St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit has won four of its five meetings this season with St. Louis, which has an NHL-low 32 points. The Red Wings are 16-4-0 at home and 26-5-2 with four ties overall against the Blues since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

With 73 points, the Red Wings are one ahead of Dallas, which hosts Nashville on Wednesday night.

Steve Yzerman scored his first goal in nine games and Andreas Lilja had the winner in the Red Wings' 5-4 victory over Minnesota on Monday. Lilja's goal was his first since Feb. 23, 2004, a span of 71 contests.

"He's good defensively, but tonight he made plays with the puck, which was nice to see," coach Mike Babcock said. "Sometimes as a defensive defenseman on an offensive team, they always want you to do more than you're capable of doing. His game has gotten much better with the puck."

Lilja gave the Red Wings a 5-3 lead midway through the third period and helped goaltender Manny Legace notch his 20th win of the season. Legace replaced starter Chris Osgood at the start of the third after Osgood allowed three goals on 10 shots in his first start in 12 days.

"I was just relaxing and getting ready to go out to the bench for the third when (Babcock) came in with 7 or 8 minutes left in the intermission and made the move," Legace said. "I was surprised."

Red Wings leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk was held without a point for the fourth straight game, his longest drought of the season.

Datsyuk has 10 goals and 17 assists in 24 games against the Blues.

St. Louis is 0-6-3 in its last nine road games and has scored three goals or less in 11 of its last 13 overall, going 2-8-3.

Just a few hours after the Blues traded leading scorer Doug Weight to Carolina for three draft picks and three players, rookie Lee Stempniak lifted the Blues to a 3-2 shootout win over Northwest Division-leading Calgary on Monday night.

Stempniak, recalled from Peoria of the AHL on Sunday, scored the tying goal in the second period and beat Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff in the fifth round of the shootout.

"Everyone wants to be a clutch player and I was happy to be out there, but I was a little bit nervous," Stempniak said. "I'd been 0-for-the-shootout so far in Peoria and I was just happy it went in."

The trade of Weight was St. Louis' second major move in 24 hours. Second-leading scorer Mike Sillinger was sent to Nashville on Sunday for forward Timofei Shishkanov.

The Blues learned Tuesday that veteran forward Jamal Mayers will be sidelined six to eight weeks after breaking his foot against the Flames. In 49 games, Mayers has 10 goals, 11 assists and a team-high 100 penalty minutes.

STANDINGS: Blues - 32 points, 5th place, 41 PB, Central Division. Red Wings - 73 points, 1st place, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blues - Dean McAmmond, 14 goals; Petr Cajanek, 23 assists; Scott Young, 31 points; Barret Jackman, 101 PIM. Red Wings - Henrik Zetterberg and Brendan Shanahan, 23 goals; Datsyuk, 39 assists and 58 points; Chris Chelios, 82 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Blues - Power play: 15.7 percent (52 for 332), 22nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (247 for 306), 21st. Red Wings - Power play: 24.8 percent (75 for 303), 1st. Penalty killing: 85.9 percent (255 for 297), 2nd.

GOALTENDERS: Blues - Curtis Sanford (6-11-4, 3 SO, 2.80 GAA); Craig Anderson (2-8-1, 3.90). Red Wings - Legace (20-6-2, 3, 2.09); Osgood (13-5-3, 1, 2.91).

SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 4-1-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 5; Red Wings, 3-0. At Detroit, Legace made 15 saves for his third shutout of the season in his first start since returning from a knee injury.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 5-15-5 on the road; Red Wings - 17-8-2 at home.

Associated Press
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