Blues-Red Wings Preview

The Associated Press

After a tough road loss to a division rival, the Detroit Red Wings likely are excited to head back to Joe Louis Arena.

The St. Louis Blues are quite familiar with how good Detroit can be at home.

The Red Wings host the Blues for the second time in five days on Saturday night while looking to extend their longest home winning streak in nearly five years.

Detroit is coming off a 3-2 loss in Chicago on Friday, losing a pair of one-goal leads before allowing the winner less than two minutes into the third period. The Red Wings (23-13-1) are in the midst of playing 11 of 14 games on the road and have lost three of their last five overall.

Justin Abdelkader put Detroit up 1-0 in the first and Todd Bertuzzi's deflection gave it a 2-1 lead in the second, but it couldn't hold off the league-leading Blackhawks.

Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen combined for one shot on goal.

''Any way you look at it, that's not good enough,'' coach Mike Babcock said. ''We didn't have enough sustained pressure in their zone."

Returning home may help the Red Wings bounce back, as they've beaten St. Louis in four of the last five meetings at Joe Louis.

Their 11-game home winning streak is the team's longest since a 13-game run from Dec. 20, 2006-Feb. 21, 2007, extending the streak Tuesday with a 3-2 victory over the Blues.

Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall scored the tying and winning goals 16 seconds apart in the third period. Detroit's 14 home wins are tied with Chicago and St. Louis for most in the NHL after the Blues failed to add to that total with a 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville on Friday.

T.J. Oshie - who missed Tuesday's game with a sore wrist - scored the team's lone goal but was one of four Blues who were denied in the shootout.

St. Louis dropped to 15-4-4 under coach Ken Hitchcock, and it will look to avoid its first three-game skid since he took over for the fired Davis Payne on Nov. 8.

"We're going through a bit of a rough stretch right now," Hitchcock said. "We're going through that stretch right now where we've got to be careful with how we deal with (losses)."

The Blues have beaten the Red Wings twice during that span, winning 2-1 on Nov. 15 and 3-2 on Dec. 6 - both wins coming in St. Louis.

Alex Steen scored in both wins, and Brian Elliott has gone 2-0-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average versus Detroit this season after making 29 saves in Tuesday's loss.

Jaroslav Halak got the start Friday, and Elliott - 14-4-0 with a league-leading 1.63 GAA - likely will be back in net for this matchup.

Jimmy Howard made 25 saves in the loss to Chicago, leaving his status for Saturday uncertain. If Babcock decides to rest Howard, former Blue Ty Conklin would get the nod.

Conklin, who spent the last two seasons with St. Louis, is 0-4-0 with a 3.98 GAA since beating Colorado on Oct. 8 for his lone win this season.

St. Louis had won the previous three meetings prior to Detroit's victory Tuesday.

What to Read Next