(Sports Network) - A pair of Central Division rivals will try to avoid their third straight losses when the St. Louis Blues host the Detroit Red Wings in Thursday's clash at Scottrade Center.
The Red Wings have been up and down all season and their recent regulation setbacks against Columbus and Calgary dropped the club's record to 4-4-1. St. Louis, meanwhile, jumped out to a 5-1-0 start to the season before losing its last two games -- one of which was against Detroit -- by a combined score of 11-4.
Detroit hopes to fare better against the Blues than it did when the clubs met in St. Louis on Jan. 19. The Red Wings suffered a season-opening 6-0 loss in that contest and had their four-game winning streak in this series snapped. Detroit bounced back from that rout with a 5-3 home win over the Blues on Feb. 1.
Detroit has won seven of the last 11 encounters, but St. Louis has won three of the last four meetings on home ice.
After losing last Friday's game in Detroit, the Blues were slammed on Tuesday by the visiting Nashville Predators. Martin Erat had a goal and two assists and Colin Wilson added three helpers to lead the Predators to a 6-1 rout. Nashville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period en route to scoring the game's first five goals.
It was the first home loss of the season for St. Louis after three straight wins at Scottrade Center. Thursday's test is the second portion of a four-game homestand for the Blues.
Alex Pietrangelo notched the lone goal of the game for the Blues, who have dropped two straight for the first time this season.
"They checked and were a step and a half ahead of us that whole period," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "They were really solid in that period and we weren't ready for that level of play."
Brian Elliott was pulled near the midpoint of the second period after giving up four goals on 11 shots. Jake Allen stopped 6-of-8 shots in relief.
With Jaroslav Halak expected to miss a second straight game with a groin injury, Elliott is expected to get the start again on Thursday. Elliott is 2-5-1 with a 2.48 goals against average in eight career games against Detroit.
The Red Wings have lost two straight since last week's win over the Blues and the most recent setback came Tuesday evening against a visiting Calgary club. Dennis Wideman had a goal and an assist to lead the Flames to the 4-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
Johan Franzen scored the lone goal for the Red Wings, giving him a point in six straight games. Jimmy Howard turned aside 19-of-23 shots for Detroit, which has lost two in a row for the first time this season.
"I thought we did some good things tonight, but we made some mistakes and they shot in our net without any question about it, so we're chasing the game," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Detroit is 1-2-1 on the road this season and will return home for a four-game stretch beginning with Saturday's meeting against Edmonton.