Red Wings-Blues Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (15-9-2-0) at St. Louis Blues (14-6-1-1).
TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
For the second time in six days, the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings
square off in a meeting between the top two teams in the Central Division.
The Blues trail Detroit by just two points for the division's top spot.
This is also a matchup of two of the best special teams units in the NHL.
The Red Wings rank third on the power play when playing on the road, and the
Blues own the league's best penalty-killing unit at home.
The Blues killed off all three of Detroit's power-play chances Saturday, but
suffered a 2-1 home loss.
St. Louis rebounded Tuesday, beating the Pacific Division-leading Los
Angeles Kings 4-1. The Blues went 2-for-2 on the power play, and held the Kings
to 0-for-3 as they won for the sixth time in seven home games.
St. Louis has allowed just two power-play goals in 43 attempts at the Savvis
Center, where it is 8-2 this season.
"That basically got us the win tonight," St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville
said of his team's power-play unit. "Scoring is very limited around the
league. I think we'll have to rely on that. It's your bread and butter."
Keith Tkachuk and Dallas Drake scored the power-play goals for the Blues.
The duo has combined for eight power-play goals this season.
"We have some key personnel on the power play," said Quenneville. "We're
looking for some production for it."
Detroit comes in after winning its fourth straight with a 7-2 home victory
over the defending Western Conference champion Anaheim Mighty Ducks on
Brett Hull, Mark Mowers and Kirk Maltby each had a goal and an assist for
Detroit and Jason Williams and Brendan Shanahan also scored as the Red Wings
improved to 9-2-1 in their last 12 games.
Hull's goal was the 729th of his career and moved him within two of Marcel
Dionne, third on the NHL's career list. Wayne Gretzky (894) is first and Gordie
Howe (801) is second. Hull, who recorded his team-leading 13th goal of the
season, also extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.
Shanahan scored his 542nd career goal, snapping a tie with Stan Mikita and
Ron Francis and putting him alone in 20th place.
The Red Wings are 11-3-2-1 in the last 17 meetings with the Blues.
Tkachuk has 46 points in 50 career games against Detroit.