The Detroit Red Wings host the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET.
This is the fourth meeting between the Red Wings and Blues in less than a month. The Red Wings currently own the head to head record this season at 2-1 and have been on a roll since besting Brian Elliott and the Blue on February 7th. The Red Wings line-up has looked better in the past few weeks, Jonathan Ericsson has finally emerged as the defenseman we all hope he could be and Damien Brunner is tearing it up so far this season (Which we talked about here). The only line not clicking for the Wings is the second line, Datsyuk and Filppula badly miss Todd Bertuzzi. Without Bertuzzi on the second line their production has gone down, Filppula has 0 points without Bertuzzi. IF you want to read more about Bertuzzi’s role check it out here.
The Blues head into tonight game in a diseray. Ken Hitchcock has called out his team stating, “…we didn’t play as well and now we’ve got to take this onto the road and we’ve got to be much more accountable to each other.” Jaroslav Halak has suffered a setback with his groin and the Blues have turned back to a flailing Brian Elliott. To say Elliot has been bad is in understatement this season, what was once one of the bet goaltending duos in the NHL has turned into a laugh track. A laugh track the Red Wings will need to take full advantage of because while the goaltending is suffering the Blues offense is as dangerous as ever.
After his amazing weekend between the pipes, two NHL games in less than 20 hours, Jimmy Howard is expected to start against the Blues after a couple nights rest.
The Red Wings’ special teams has been on a tear the past two games, scoring 3 power play goals and killing 9 of the 10 penalties.
The defense has been relatively solid the past few games, with the lone sore spot being Jakub Kindl. He has gotten better, but still turns the puck over in bad situations, A LOT.
Jordin Tootoo has not been in a fight since February 5th and has not been a impact player for the team since the Dallas Stars game on January 29th. I expect him to be more physical and wear down the Blues’ defensemen today, it is what he is being paid to do after all.
Prediction: Zetterberg and Brunner continue to show the chemistry they developed with EV Zug and the Blues lose their 6th straight game. 4-2 Red Wings victory.
Update: The Blues AHL goalie Jake Allen will receive the start tonight over Brian Elliott.
Update #2: Franzen out. Abdelkader joins the top two lines.
Red Wings will be without Johan Franzen tonight, per Ken Holland. Franzen day-to-day with hip flexor. Justin Abdelkader moving up a line.
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) February 13, 2013