Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - Goals and wins have come pretty easily for the St. Louis Blues in recent weeks and the club hopes to continue its hot streak when it hosts the Detroit Red Wings in Thursday's battle at Scottrade Center.
The Blues have won five straight and are outscoring the opposition by a 29-10 margin during the hot streak, which includes a 3-0 start to seven-game homestand.
St. Louis' two most recent wins were on the close side, however, as the Blues edged Carolina in a shootout on Saturday before taking a 4-2 decision in Tuesday's clash with Edmonton.
David Backes and Vladimir Tarasenko each posted a goal and an assist to lead the way in the win over the Oilers. St. Louis led 3-0 before allowing Edmonton to make a game of it in the third period. Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot scored twice in the final 20 minutes, but the Blues were able to hold on for the victory.
"You don't want to give points away to teams that are behind you, especially when all the other teams keep winning," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "You just don't want to start falling behind teams at this point."
Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen each scored a goal for the Blues, while Jake Allen allowed two goals on 15 shots.
St. Louis, which is one point behind Chicago for second place in the Central Division, can post its second-longest winning streak of the season with another victory tonight. The Blues' season-high streak came with seven consecutive wins from Oct. 25-Nov. 6.
The Blues have won four straight on home ice and are 16-4-1 in the Gateway City this season. However, St. Louis has dropped two straight and three of its last four home games against tonight's opponent.
Detroit has claimed seven of 11 overall from the Blues and enters tonight's encounter having won three of its last four games to post a 3-2-0 mark on a six-game road trip that ends in St. Louis. The Wings are 10-7-3 as the visiting team this season.
The Red Wings fell 3-1 in Washington on Saturday, but rebounded Tuesday night in Buffalo with a 3-1 victory of their own. Petr Mrazek filled in nicely for the injured Jimmy Howard, stopping 25 shots to anchor the victory at first Niagara Center.
Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Darren Helm all scored for the Red Wings, while Kyle Quincey posted two assists.
"I think we played a great game today," said Mrazek. "Our penalty kill was really solid, and that's been getting a lot better lately."
Howard, Detroit's No. 1 goaltender, is week-to-week with a groin injury and Mrazek expects to start again tonight with Tom McCollum as his backup. Mrazek owns a 2-0 record and .80 goals against average in three lifetime appearances against the Blues.
Brian Elliott is expected to start for St. Louis. He is 3-6-1 with a 2.49 GAA in his career versus Detroit.
The Blues are still carrying three goalies on their NHL roster, but that number will shrink to two as Martin Brodeur was granted a week-long leave of absence from the club on Wednesday.
A statement released by the Blues said "Brodeur will rejoin the club in one week and his future will be addressed at that time." The future Hall of Fame netminder was signed to a one-year deal on Dec. 2 when Elliott was sidelined with an injury.
Brodeur led the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cup titles during his legendary 21-season run with the club, a tenure that ended when the Devils opted not to sign him last offseason. He is 3-3-0 with a 2.87 GAA and .899 save percentage in seven games with the Blues.
The Red Wings, who are third in the Atlantic Division, expect to be without forward Tomas Jurco for a fourth straight game. Jurco is dealing with a back injury and hasn't played since Jan. 6 in Edmonton.
Next up for Detroit is a three-game homestand which begins Saturday against Nashville.