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Red Wings-Blues Preview @NHL
Red Wings-Blues Preview

GAME: Detroit Red Wings (12-2-1) at St. Louis Blues (2-8-3).

TIME: Sunday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Detroit Red Wings have dominated the St. Louis Blues for the last few years. The way each team is playing this season, that trend figures to continue.

The Blues hope to avoid a franchise-record eighth straight loss when they face the league-leading Red Wings for the third time this season.

The first month of the season has left little doubt that the Blues are in rebuilding mode. They have won only two of their first 13 games and are last in the NHL with seven points.

St. Louis matched a franchise record with its seventh consecutive loss, 7-2 to visiting Edmonton on Friday.

"We're last in the league because we deserve to be last in the league," Blues defenseman Eric Brewer said. "We just didn't play well tonight and we need to suck it up and play better hockey."

This is the third seven-game skid in team history and first since Feb. 12-25, 1989.

Inconsistent goaltending and injuries are two big reasons for the Blues' dismal start.

Patrick Lalime allowed four goals on 15 shots over the first two periods Friday and lost his fifth straight game. Backup Reinhard Divis stopped 10 of 13 shots in the final 20 minutes as his goals-against average jumped to 5.39.

Lalime and Divis haven't been helped by a defense that has allowed 58 goals, among the worst totals in the league.

St. Louis is currently without left wing Keith Tkachuk, defenseman Christian Backman and top center Doug Weight.

Tkachuk is sidelined with cracked ribs, Backman is out with a shoulder injury and Weight has missed the last two games with post-concussion symptoms. Weight is the only one with a chance to play Sunday.

The Blues have already lost two games this season to the Red Wings, dropping them to 1-11-1 in the past 13 meetings.

Detroit failed to record at least one point for only the second time in 15 games this season, losing 4-1 at home to Phoenix on Saturday.

Tomas Holmstrom had the lone goal for the Red Wings, who have lost two straight - one in overtime - after winning nine in a row.

Detroit has won all six road games this season, outscoring opponents 27-9. The Red Wings are the only team yet to lose away from home.

Center Pavel Datsyuk assisted on Holmstrom's goal, giving him four goals and 10 assists during an eight-game points streak.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 5): Red Wings - 25 points, 1st place, Central Division. Blues - 7 points, 5th place, 18 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Brendan Shanahan, 8 goals; Jason Williams, 13 assists; Williams and Datsyuk, 18 points; Chris Chelios, 44 PIM. Blues - Jamal Mayers, 6 goals and 27 PIM; Petr Cajanek, 12 assists and 14 points.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 5): Red Wings - Power play: 26.5 percent (26 for 98), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.9 percent (80 for 91), 3rd. Blues - Power play: 16.2 percent (14 for 86), 20th. Penalty killing: 78.8 percent (71 for 90), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Osgood (2-1-1, 0 SO, 2.67 GAA); Jimmy Howard (no appearances). Blues - Lalime (2-6-3, 3.99); Divis (0-2-0, 5.39).

SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 6; Red Wings, 4-3. At St. Louis, Robert Lang had a goal and an assist and Williams set up three goals as the Red Wings continued their dominance in the series.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 6-0-0 on the road; Blues - 2-5-1 at home.

Associated Press
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