Motown harmony: Blues hope to solve Red Wings in Detroit

If the Blues are going to get back to .500 on the road, hot Red Wings at home.

They already failed in their first chance in doing so four days ago.

Looking to avoid a season-high third straight loss, St. Louis returns to Detroit this evening for the second time this week trying to deal the Red Wings their first loss at home in almost two months.

The Blues and Red Wings are tied for second in the Central Division with 47 points, five back of the first-place Blackhawks. St. Louis beat Detroit in the first two meetings this season at home, but was dealt a 3-2 loss at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday for its sixth loss in its last nine trips to Motown.

Holding a one-goal lead heading into the third period, the Blues watched the Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall score 56 seconds apart in the third period to drop the Blues to 7-8-3 on the road this season.

St. Louis then returned home on Friday riding a six-game winning streak as the host, but suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville. The Blues came up empty on all five of their chances in the tiebreaker, while Jaroslav Halak stopped the first four skaters he faced until getting beat by Martin Erat in the fifth round.

T.J. Oshie had a first-period goal for the Blues, who fell to 14-3-2 at home and are winless in five shootouts this season. Halak stopped 33 shots in the loss.

"I told the guys we're going through a rough stretch right now," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "I told the guys that they can't get down on themselves. There was a lot of good things we did tonight, but it wasn't enough."

St. Louis, which has lost four of its past five on the road, saw Oshie, Vladimir Sobotka and Jamie Langenbrunner all return to the lineup from injury/illness, but Alexander Steen sat out with concussion-like symptoms.

Detroit's win over St. Louis was its second in a row overall and pushed its outstanding home record to 14-2-1, but the club fell further behind in the Central Division race with last night's 3-2 loss at Chicago.

Jimmy Howard made 25 saves and Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi each had a goal for the Red Wings, who now hope to avoid their first home loss since Nov. 3 after falling to 9-11-0 on the road.

The Blackhawks scored the go-ahead goal early in the third and the Red Wings were whistled for three penalties following the tally.

"I think we were in the box for three penalties, six minutes," Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom said. "When you have a team that's so good offensively and moving the puck it kind of changes the momentum."

The Red Wings have won six of their last 10 overall versus the Blues.