DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings will try to avoid losing to the St. Louis Blues for a third time this season Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings (22-12-1) ended a two-game skid Monday night with a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. That was the last of a four-game road stint in which Detroit topped the Edmonton Oilers, but fell to the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
The St. Louis Blues (21-10-4) are sitting at 4th place in the Western Conference thanks to a two-game winning streak. They have a 1-point advantage over their Central Division foes, the Red Wings.
It's a big game for both teams, and maybe more significant to Detroit, who has lost the past three meetings. The Blues topped Detroit on Dec. 6, 3-2, and on Nov. 15, 2-1. St. Louis also won the past season's final matchup with the Red Wings.
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock, who took over early in the season after the team fired Davis Payne, has the squad running on all cylinders. Hitchcock is making a case for a coach-of-the-year nomination if he can keep the Blues winning.
They are working toward a playoff appearance and have subsequently made the Central Division one of the toughest, if not the toughest, in the league.
That's something the Red Wings will have to adjust to.
Detroit has played the role of bully for the past couple of decades in the Central. But with the resurgence of the Chicago Blackhawks, a consistent Nashville group and now a burgeoning Blues team, the Red Wings find themselves battling for a spot in the division and top conference spot on any given night.
Amid their success, St. Louis does have injuries to deal with. Vladimir Sobotka and Andy McDonald remain out of the lineup. McDonald's concussion symptoms have kept him on injured reserve. Moreover, T.J. Oshie and Jamie Langenbrunner were both out of the lineup Monday night with flu-like symptoms.
The Red Wings lost Tomas Holmstrom when he suffered a lower body injury Monday night. It's unclear if he will be ready to go Tuesday. Chris Conner is now day-to-day as his broken hand continues to heal.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.