Like the Blues? Get ready to see a whole lot of them.

Friday's game began a stretch in which Detroit and St. Louis play three times seven games.

Detroit is in St. Louis on Thursday , with the Blues returning to Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 13.

In a short season, the importance of each game is compounded, especially against a division opponent.

Which made Friday's 5-3 Red Wings victory so important,

"Every game is so important in the short season," said defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who had the tying goal in Friday's victory. "We have to win games in our division. They beat us 6-0 the first game (the season opener) and we wanted to get back at them."

Said coach Mike Babcock: "If you want to find out where you stand, they (the Blues) and San Jose and Chicago are rolling in the West."

The Blues return to Joe Louis Arena for the last time April 7.

After San Jose, Chicago and St. Louis, there's been little separation in the standings through two weeks.

"It's a cliché, but you have to play these games one at a time because the points are crucial," Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi said.

Hankhead

The Wings were shaking their heads over Henrik Zetterberg 's five-point, (three goals, two assists) game Friday.

It was all the more amazing because Zetterberg was bothered by flu-like symptoms the last two days and didn't practice Thursday.

"If I had been out a day like that, I would be struggling to skate," Ericsson said. "He was flying out there. I don't know how he does it."

Friday's giveaway at Joe Louis Arena was mini Pavel Datsyuk Fatheads. Datsyuk thought the giveaway should have been amended.

"Hankhead night," Datsyuk said.