After breezing through the majority of the season, the St. Louis Blues picked an inopportune time to endure quite the rough patch. The Blues look to snap a five-game losing streak and put themselves in position to win the Central Division when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. St. Louis is even in points with Colorado, but the Avalanche hold the tiebreaker by virtue of more wins in regulation and overtime heading into their tilt with Anaheim.
Claiming the top spot would set up a presumed more-advantageous matchup in the opening round of the playoffs for the Blues. The Central champion will face division-rival Minnesota, the first wild card in the Western Conference, while the second-place club tangles with defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago in the opening round. Detroit made a spirited run to secure its 23rd consecutive postseason appearance, although its task in the first round will be difficult against Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston.
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (38-28-15): Detroit learned its postseason opponent on Saturday night after Columbus posted a 3-2 triumph over Florida. The Red Wings fell to 5-2-1 in their last eight games following a 2-1 setback to Carolina on Friday. Gustav Nyquist was held off the scoresheet for the third time in five games after recording a staggering 23 goals since Jan. 20, when he started the streak with his team's lone tally in a 4-1 loss to St. Louis.
ABOUT THE BLUES (52-22-7): The formerly potent offense barely is leaving a mark as St. Louis has mustered just five goals during its slide. The Blues have been blanked twice during that span - including a 3-0 setback to Dallas on Friday. Injuries have played a significant role in St. Louis' slump, as it is missing six of its top 12 forwards - including captain David Backes (lower body), Brenden Morrow (lower body), T.J. Oshie (upper body) and Derek Roy (upper body).
1. St. Louis G Ryan Miller, who has yielded 15 goals in his last four games, owns a 2-8-2 career mark versus Detroit.
2. Red Wings G Jimmy Howard has permitted two goals in each of his last five starts.
3. Detroit recalled Ds Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.