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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Sinking Blues return to Detroit

Feb 13, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT

ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 7: Drew Miller #20 and Jordin Tootoo #22 both of the Detroit Red Wings look to clear the puck against Roman Polak #46 of the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on February 7, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the St. Louis Blues will head to the Joe Louis Arena for a match against the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Red Wings and Blues have been very familiar opponents this season. This with be their fourth meeting together, meaning that both teams have dedicated roughly a third of their early schedule to playing together. However, after this match, they won’t face each other again until April 7.

When the two sides met on opening night, St. Louis embarrassed the Detroit Red Wings and earned a 6-0 victory.

“It was one of those games where nothing worked for us,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the Detroit News. “We didn’t do anything right. We were two steps behind and taking penalties. Our penalty kill was horrible and power play was dreadful.”

That fueled the fears of fans that the Red Wings’ dynasty ended with the retirement of blueliner Nicklas Lidstrom, but that contest didn’t start a trend. Detroit was able to bounce back in a big way and beat the Blues in their following two contests.

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Meanwhile, St. Louis is in a free fall. After a great start to the season, the Blues have lost five straight games and that’s largely corresponded with the absence of starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak (groin).

Brian Elliott, who was brilliant last season as St. Louis’ backup netminder, has a terrible 3.57 GAA and .849 save percentage in nine games this season. With that in mind, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has suggested that 22-year-old Jake Allen might get his first NHL start on Wednesday.

“Before he came up to back up, Jake was playing the best hockey he’s ever played in his life, so we can’t discount that,” Hitchcock said in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. “We’ve got to be cognizant of that, and Brian’s struggled. So sometimes a mental break for Brian might work too. We just have to discuss it and see what’s best for the goalie and the team.”

Regardless of who starts, you can expect the Blues to battle hard as they attempt to right their ship.

Probable goaltenders: STL – Allen (0-0-0, 3.87 GAA, .750 SV%) | DET – Jimmy Howard (6-4-1, 2.78 GAA, .906 SV%)

Top scorers: STL – Kevin Shattenkirk (1-12-13, 12 GP) | DET – Henrik Zetterberg (5-13-18, 12 GP)

Notable Injuries:
St. Louis – Forwards: Jamie Langenbrunner (hip) Goaltenders: Halak (groin)
Detroit – Forwards: Todd Bertuzzi (back), Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (groin), Jan Mursak (shoulder) Defensemen: Brendan Smith (shoulder), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) Goaltenders: Jonas Gustavsson (groin)

  1. 0ffsides - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    With a lopsided victory for each team sandwiched around a close victory for the Wings (thanks to the phantom hit to the head) this one should be a real beauty. GO WINGS!

  2. beelza - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Lidstrom and Holmstrom will be in the JLA, hopefully will give Detroit an emotional boost. I hope blues play for blood and take many early penalties.

  3. thehighcountrybear - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Talk is…Blues have petitioned the NHL in an effort to restrict Wings from using either jet propelled walkers or rocket boosted canes [ it's simply unfair says an unnamed source quoting Hitch ]?

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 13, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      6 Red Wings fans did not like that comment apparently.

  4. xjokerz - Feb 13, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    can you post the TV ratings for this ” Rivalry ” game tomorrow?

    i want a good laugh

    • lionstigersandwingsohmy - Feb 13, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      Can the wings play your team next? I, too, need a good laugh.

  5. beelza - Feb 13, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    First start, 22 year old, 5 game losing streak, goal tender on Lidstrom’s first time back since well, we don’t say that word in Hockeytown. 6 is a nice round number, as in 6 loses in a row.

  6. xjokerz - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    im just saying.. if this is such a ” Rivalry ” game.. why wasnt it even talked about on Detroit sports radio today…nobody in Michigan cares about the Blues.. so claiming it to be a ” Rivalry ” game is comical, if anything.. id call the hawks our ” Rivals ” and still..thats not much of one…… Maybe if you put us back in the East where we belong we can see some true ” RIVALS “. Leafs vs Wings is a good start.

    pricks

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