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Blues head to Detroit to face Red Wings on TSN2

The Sports Network

12/27/2011 10:57:39 AM

(Sports Network) - The last time the Blues visited Joe Louis Arena, they notched their best offensive performance in 17 years.

With St. Louis rolling under new head coach Ken Hitchcock, the potential for another offensive showcase is there.

The Blues try to knock off the rival Red Wings for a fourth straight time this evening in the first meeting between the club's this year in Detroit.

Catch the game live on TSN2, tonight at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.

St. Louis owns a pair of home wins over Detroit already this year, with both victories coming since Hitchcock took over for a fired David Payne on Nov. 6. Hitchcock now makes his first trip to Joe Louis Arena as the Blues' bench boss and would love a repeat of the last performance there even if he wasn't the coach.

In the final meeting between the teams last season, St. Louis rolled into Detroit and left town with a 10-3 victory to snap a three-game series road losing streak. It marked the first time the Blues scored 10 goals in a game since Feb. 26, 1994 and they matched a club record by getting goals from nine different skaters.

Chris Porter was the only Blues skater with multiple goals, while Vladimir Sobotka, Chris Stewart and Porter all had three-point nights.

While another 10-goal night is a lot to ask for, the Blues did notch half of that production last night in a 5-3 victory over the Stars. Stewart had a pair of goals, Evgeny Grachev scored his first career NHL goal and Adam Cracknell lit the lamp on the same day he was recalled from the minors.

Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves for the Blues, who have won two straight and are 7-1-1 in their past nine. They also moved to 15-3-4 under Hitchcock and have gone from 14th overall in the West to fourth in that span.

"We played really hard tonight," Hitchcock said. "I loved our effort tonight and our compete level."

Cracknell was recalled to replace T.J. Oshie in the lineup, with the latter also expected to sit out tonight due to a left wrist injury.

St. Louis, which is one point ahead of Detroit in the standings, moved to 14-3-1 at home this year compared to 7-7-3 on the road.

Detroit has similar splits, going 13-2-1 as the hosting club this year while improving to 9-10-0 on the road with last night's 4-1 victory in Nashville. Valtteri Filppula scored twice and Jimmy Howard made 31 saves while coming within 2:12 of a shutout. He still picked up his NHL-leading 21st win.

Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary each had a goal for the Red Wings, who halted a two-game skid and won for the sixth time in nine games.

Detroit played the third period without Tomas Holmstrom due to a lower-body injury.

The Red Wings are 6-2-0 in the front end of playing on back-to-back nets while going 4-3-0 in the second portion.