Blues vs. Red Wings Preview
DETROIT, MI (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings were nearly invincible at home the first two months of the season. December hasn't brought nearly the same level of success at Joe Louis Arena.
Looking to avoid their fourth loss in five games on home ice, the Central Division-leading Red Wings face the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Red Wings -180 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Blues. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 80% of more than 98 bets for this game have been placed on the Red Wings -180.
Dominating opponents at home is nothing new for the Red Wings, who entered this season 81-28-14 at home since the start of 2007-08. That success continued with Detroit going 10-1-2 at Joe Louis in October and November, but the team has lost three of four home games this month.
The latest defeat certainly wasn't for lack of effort as the Red Wings registered a season-high 51 shots Tuesday night, only to see Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick turn away each one in handing Detroit a 5-0 loss. The Red Wings hadn't been shut out when reaching 50 shots since a 0-0 tie with Edmonton on Dec. 10, 1996.
"Hats off to Quickie. He played a hell of a game. He stole that one,'' said Detroit's Jimmy Howard, who made 21 saves. "He was in a zone. There's nothing you can do about it. He was stopping everything. I think we could have went all night and he probably still would have gave up zero. He was just in one of those zones.''
Although Detroit (19-7-3) was blanked for the first time this season, the Wings have been very good offensively and totaled eight goals in consecutive wins against Montreal and New Jersey over the weekend. The Red Wings are averaging 3.31 goals to rank among the league leaders after finishing 14th with 2.72 in 2009-10.
With a lineup that features four double-digit goal scorers, the Red Wings are usually very effective on the power play - although that hasn't been the case lately. They are 4 for 34 with the man advantage the past nine games after going 10 for 27 in the previous seven.
Howard gave up five goals for the second time in four starts Tuesday, going 1-3-0 with a 3.79 goals-against average during that span. He is 3-2-1 with a 2.78 GAA against the Blues.
St. Louis (14-9-5) has been off since a 2-1 shootout loss to Carolina on Saturday. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues in the third period, when St. Louis had an 18-4 shots advantage.
"I thought we were pretty solid. We did some things that we wanted to," coach Davis Payne said.
While Payne's team has gone 2-0-2 in its last four, those are the Blues' only two wins in eight games. They are 2-6-1 in their last nine on the road, a stretch that includes a 7-3 loss to Detroit on Nov. 17.
Pietrangelo's goal came on the power play, making the Blues 4 for 8 with the man advantage the last two games after they went 22 straight chances without converting. St. Louis has also killed off 16 consecutive short-handed situations.
The Blues won't have their only goal scorer from Saturday in the lineup for this game, as Pietrangelo has an unspecified upper-body injury. He leads St. Louis defenseman with 12 assists and 15 points.Alex Steen has four goals and three assists in his last six games overall but only two points in 15 against Detroit.
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