The St. Louis Blues welcome the Detroit Red Wings to the Scottrade Center for their third match-up of the season on Thursday night. Each team has held serve on their home ice, but St. Louis may find themselves at a disadvantage this time around with their starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak on injured reserve.
Halak is suffering from what is being called a groin strain and without him in the net on Tuesday night, the Blues were pummeled by the Nashville Predators despite only allowing 19 shots on goal. Brian Elliot gave up four goals on 11 shots and was replaced by rookie Jake Allen who gave up two of his own. When the Blues take the ice against the Red Wings, Allen will be tending the net once again. He has been in 31 games for the Peoria Rivermen this season where he has a .903 save percentage and a 2.94 goals against average. He will need to be at his best against the Wings if the Blues are even going to stand a chance.
Both the Wings and the Blues are on a two game losing skid and neither wants to be the one that makes it three straight. The Blues took it to Detroit in the season opener, hammering the Wings 6-0, and they were able to take a lead into the third period when the two teams met at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit managed to rally in that game, scoring three straight goals to take the 5-3 win. Thursday night will be the third of five scheduled meetings between the Central Division rivals.
The Red Wings are currently three points behind the Blues who are second in the division, six points behind the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams could consider this a must win despite it being so early in the season, and with Halak out at least until the weekend, St. Louis may see the Wings steal one, closing the gap between the two clubs, and giving Detroit a 2-1 season series lead.