The St. Louis Blues find themselves in an unusual position as they prepare to face an old foe.
Saddled with their first two-game losing streak in over a month, the Blues look to get things turned around Monday night as they visit the Red Wings in Detroit. St. Louis dropped a 3-2 decision to fellow Western Conference powerhouse Anaheim on Saturday night for its third loss in four games, but the Blues may be catching the reeling Red Wings at the right time.
Detroit's confounding season took another turn Saturday night as the Red Wings took advantage of a controversial third-period goal to register a 3-2 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings. It was a successful opener to a five-game homestand that comes on the heels of a 2-3-0 showing on a difficult five-game road trip that included contests against San Jose and Ducks. Detroit has been abysmal at Joe Louis Arena, going 7-10-7 this season.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSMW (St. Louis), FSD (Detroit)
ABOUT THE BLUES (32-10-5): St. Louis received a major boost Saturday with the return of forward Alexander Steen. The 29-year-old was one of the NHL's early-season surprises, competing with Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in goals before suffering a suspected concussion Dec. 21 against the Edmonton Oilers.
"We're all really excited to get him back," teammate Jaden Schwartz said of Steen, who was held off the scoresheet in the loss to Anaheim. "He's a huge part of our team. He plays in every situation and is a big leader on this team."
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (21-17-10): Saturday's fortunate victory provided some much-needed relief to a Detroit team that has struggled mightily in its own arena. It also buoyed the spirits of the fans, who were treated to a second-period melee that saw Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard get in on the action. Howard exchanged words with a pair of Kings skaters before having a brief but animated discussion with opposing netminder Jonathan Quick:
"We were just discussing what to do in Sochi together," Howard joked when asked about the incident with his future Olympic teammate.
The team announced Monday morning that center Darren Helm will return to the lineup Monday night. Helm has missed 18 of the past 19 games with injuries. He played Dec. 30 in Nashville.
"I feel that I can be ready to get back into the lineup, be effective. I'm not going to be able to do what I did near the end of my first stint back, but I just want to contribute any way I can, play my role," said Helm on Monday.
1. St. Louis won three of five meetings a season ago, when the teams were rivals in the Central Division.
2. Howard is 11-6-2 with a 2.54 goals-against average and a shutout in 19 career games versus the Blues.
3. St. Louis is ranked in the top-5 in goals for (3.4), goals against (2.2), power-play percentage (24.1) and penalty-killing efficiency (85.4).