Monday, March 27, 2006

GameDay: @ St. Louis (20-37-12, 52 Pts) 8:00 ET

Tonight is the seventh of eight games between these two Central Division teams. The Wings lead the season series 5-1, with their only loss coming November 19th (3-2). The Wings are coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to Columbus on Saturday. After playing strong for about 40 minutes, they completely fell apart in the third, blowing a three-goal lead in a span of seven and a half minutes. Pavel Datsyuk salvaged the game with a late goal to tie it at four and force overtime. Neither team could score in the extra period so the game went to a shootout. Although only one Columbus player scored on Osgood in the shootout, the Wings ended up losing because their three shooters couldn't solve Pascal Leclaire. The loss was just their second in nine games (7-0-2). Manny Legace is slated to start tonight for the Wings and Dan Cleary will return to the lineup after missing two games with the flu. Mark Mowers will most likely be the odd man out. The Blues have been plagued by injuries this season, having lost nearly 300 man-games to injury, and haven't performed well in the face of this adversity. Some of their injured players are nearing a comeback, though, so the Blues team we see tonight will be different than the team the Wings'll face April 15th. St. Louis is last in the West, just a point behind Chicago, and have lost six straight. Six losses may sound pretty bad but they've had a tough schedule in that stretch, playing San Jose twice (one at home, one on the road) as well as LA (road), Nashville (road), Calgary (home) and Colorado (home). Their last win came on the 13th, a 3-2 overtime decision over Columbus at home. They're coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Avs on Saturday, a game in which they blew a two-goal lead in the second period. Joe Sakic scored the game winner on the power play at :57 of overtime. Looks like Patrick Lalime will get the start tonight for the Blues. After their meltdown on Saturday, the Wings need to bounce back with a commanding win tonight. Apparently, Babcock didn't say anything to the team about the loss, counting on the veterans to take a lead in correcting the mistakes that were made. Probably not a bad strategy but it will be disappointing if it doesn't pay off. Should be interesting. The game is on OLN and begins at 8:00 ET, so don't forget. Also, Mike Babcock has another fan.


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