Struggling Wings return home to battle Blues

( - After a rough road trip, the Detroit Red Wings hope to get back on track at home when they begin a four-game stay at Joe Louis Arena in Sunday's meeting versus the St. Louis Blues.

Detroit went 1-3-0 on its recent four-game swing and lost the final two tests of the trip. The Red Wings have lost six of eight overall, but are still sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division.

With 87 points, the Red Wings are three ahead of Boston in the division. The Bruins, who are holding onto the last wild card spot in the East, have played two more games than Detroit and are in action Sunday in Tampa.

The red-hot Ottawa Senators, meanwhile, are point one behind Boston and four removed from Detroit. The Senators are idle Sunday.

Detroit's lone win of the road trip came with a 5-1 rout of Pittsburgh last Sunday, but the Wings followed that lopsided victory with consecutive 3-1 losses at Florida and Tampa Bay. Both setbacks came with injured centerman Pavel Datsyuk out of the lineup and the Russian star is questionable for today's game with a lower-body injury.

The Red Wings were tied 1-1 with the Lightning after 40 minutes on Friday, but Alex Killorn delivered the game-winning goal for the hosts with 9:29 remaining in the third period. Steven Stamkos added an empty-netter in the closing minute to seal the victory.

Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for Detroit, which is eight points behind Tampa Bay for second in the division. Jimmy Howard allowed two goals on 31 shots in the loss.

"I think it's encouraging because we played a real good game," said Howard. "The last couple of games we got off to bad starts, but we were in this one the whole time."

Detroit has lost four of its last six home games, but boasts a solid 19-7-7 record in the Motor City overall. The Wings will host Arizona on Tuesday before closing the homestand with tilts against San Jose and Tampa.

The Blues have won their last three trips to Joe Louis Arena, but Detroit has claimed two straight meetings overall.

St. Louis has 96 points on the season, matching the club with Nashville atop the Central Division. The Blues hold the current tiebreaker due to having a game in hand, which they will use this afternoon with the Predators.

The Blues dropped their second straight game on Saturday, losing 6-3 in Minnesota. The Wild scored twice in the opening period and led 4-0 by the early stages of the second stanza.

It was St. Louis' second loss to Minnesota in a week, as the Wild posted a 3-1 road win over the Blues on the previous Saturday.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz each registered a goal and an assist for St. Louis and Paul Stastny tallied late in the loss.

Brian Elliott started in net for the Blues, but was pulled in the second period after yielding four goals on 16 shots. Jake Allen stopped 10-of-12 shots in relief.

"They were on their toes, they were jumping on us, putting pucks in the right spot and playing a fast game," Blues captain David Backes remarked. "To combat that, we have to play our hard, heavy game and we just never got to it."

Allen is expected to get the start in net for the Blues on Sunday. He picked up a win in his only career appearance against Detroit, making 15 saves in a 4-3 overtime decision on Feb. 13 of last season.

St. Louis is 21-12-4 as the guest this season and 3-1-1 on a six-game road trip that is set to end Tuesday in Pittsburgh.