Second place is unfamiliar territory for the Detroit Red Wings. Dominating opponents on home ice is not.
The Red Wings seek their 10th straight victory at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night when they face the rival St. Louis Blues for the sixth time this season.
While the Red Wings (32-14-6) are enjoying another outstanding season, they find themselves trailing Nashville, owner of the league's best record, in the Central Division. Detroit has won the division title each of the last five seasons, but a young and very deep Predators team could be poised to end that run.
After losing three in a row - all on the road - the Red Wings got back on track Sunday with a 3-1 victory over visiting Colorado.
It was the ninth straight home win for Detroit, its longest run at Joe Louis since closing the 2002-03 season with 11 consecutive home victories.
Including an 18-3-3 mark this season, the Red Wings are 131-32-13 with 14 ties at home since the start of the 2001-02 season.
St. Louis (20-23-8) knows all too well how difficult it is to win in Detroit, going 4-11-2 in its last 17 visits.
The goaltending of Dominik Hasek and a stifling defense have been the keys during the Red Wings' nine-game run. They have allowed 12 goals during the streak, with Hasek giving up nine in eight starts.
Trailing by three in the third period, it didn't appear that the Red Wings would end their road skid Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Detroit, though, scored three times in a 6:48 span and Henrik Zetterberg capped the rally 2:57 into overtime, lifting the Wings to an improbable 4-3 victory.
"Once we got that first goal, we felt a lot better," defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "Getting a big win here like that is huge."
Hasek finished with 16 saves to win for the sixth time in seven starts.
"We didn't make any turnovers and we played smart," Hasek said. "In the first two periods, we made turnovers and I didn't make saves."
Detroit's power play finally produced in Tuesday's win, converting on the last two attempts after going scoreless on the previous 19 opportunities.
The Blues allowed four third-period goals Tuesday in a 5-2 home loss to Minnesota.
The defeat was only the third in 10 games (7-2-1) for St. Louis, which has dropped back-to-back contests in regulation for the first time since it lost its first two games under coach Andy Murray on Dec. 12-13.
"The biggest game of the year and we just didn't get it done," Blues goalie Manny Legace said. "We had all the momentum. We just couldn't buy a goal and couldn't keep them out."
Legace, who had a personal three-game win streak snapped, figures to make another start against his former team Friday. He is 2-2-0 with a 2.73 goals-against average in four starts this season against the Wings, with whom he spent the previous six years.
Legace is 64-17-2 with six ties, eight shutouts and a 2.08 goals-against average in 95 games at Joe Louis.
The Red Wings are 3-0-2 against St. Louis this season and 13-1-2 in the past 16 matchups.