Tonight is the fifth of eight games between Detroit and St. Louis this season. The two teams opened the season against each other with two games, both of which were won by the Wings: 5-1 on October 5th at home and 4-3 the next night in St. Louis. They didn't play again for a month but the Wings won again, 4-1 in St. Louis, on November 6th after an unsuccessful homestand. The Blues got a little revenge later in the month when they visited the Joe and handed the Wings their fourth straight loss (3-2, November 19th).
The Wings had a nice five-game winning streak going before it was halted Tuesday night by the visiting Minnesota Wild, who won a frustrating game 4-2
. The Wings did not play well and started the most important month of the season so far, January, off totally wrong. Tonight's game will the last "easy win" (with the exception of the Columbus game on the 18th) until February first, when they play St. Louis for the sixth time. Between now and then, they will face some of the league's best teams, including Nashville, New York (Rangers), Philadelphia, Dallas and Carolina. Fourteen games and a possible 28 points to begin with, now it's just thirteen games and 26 points with Tuesday night's loss.
The Blues are one of the biggest disappointments of the year and are in the middle of a nightmare season. They are 1-2-1 in their last four and have basically alternated wins and losses since December 20th. They started January off on the right foot with a win against the Canucks on Monday (4-2) but lost to Nashville two nights later, 4-3. The Preds had lost four in a row going in to that game and evidently the Blues thought they could get a fairly easy win. They were wrong. St. Louis kicks off a five-game road trip tonight, one that will take them next to Colorado and then out East to play three teams in the Southeastern Division.
Manny Legace will get the start in place of Chris Osgood tonight. Legace has been out with a sprained knee since November 25th.
Steve Yzerman is slated to make his return to the ice after going down with yet another groin injury December 9th.
Brendan Shanahan has been having some back spasms and apparently was a game-time decision Tuesday night, though the papers made no mention of it until today. I guess that explains why he hasn't scored in four games. He did not practice yesterday but is expected to play.
Jason Woolley also did not practice, though he also is expected to play.
The Wings need a win tonight if only to have some momentum going in to tomorrow's game against the Predators. Although the Blues are struggling, Detroit cannot take them for granted and expect to roll over them. They need to play a disciplined game and pull off the win.
I will be at the game with my sister and was expecting to be able to utilize her camera to get some good pictures but it looks like the Joe has pretty strict rules that may not allow us to bring her good camera in. So, we'll see what we can get.
Update (2:18 PM):
Well, after finding out that the don't let Joe Blow take a half-way decent camera into JLA (because we might sell the pictures and rob the Illitches of tens
of dollars), we tried the PR Department route. Our appeal was shot down when I was told that the Wings do not give credentials to independent media, not even a photo pass.
It's outdated and frustrating but it's the rule so we'll have to stick by it. So, because the lense on my sister's good camera is too "zoomy" (new word), we'll have to use one of her lesser cameras and hope for the best.
It's funny. The new blogger-type, independent media is getting recognition all over the place but I can't get permission to bring a decent camera to a game I paid for with money I could have spent on textbooks. I'm not asking for a season press pass! Just one game and just for a photo pass at that!