Two weeks ago the Red Wings began their season with a kick in the face. They went into St. Louis confident they were a good team and put on one of their worst performances in years, start to finish.
Tonight the Blues are coming to Joe Louis Arena, and the Wings have a bit of swagger back after having rolled out three solid performances. The offense, shut out in that 6-0 St. Louis loss, has 10 goals during the 2-0-1 stretch, and the penalty killers, 1-for-5 in the opener, are 14-for-16.
"I think we're doing the right things, it's starting to come together," Todd Bertuzzi said Thursday. "St. Louis is playing well -- they're big, they're strong, they're tough. We're going to have to match that."
The Blues have been beating up opponents regularly on the strength of being one of the few teams without a glaring weakness. They've got "depth, skill on the back, size, goaltending," coach Mike Babcock said.
Babcock lamented that, in the opener, the Wings weren't "very competitive. So now we have an opportunity to evaluate ourselves again, six games later, and see where we're at. We're through segment one and we were able to get seven points in our first segment. We need to have a better segment this segment to keep in the chase."
The Wings have stabilized over the past week on several fronts, though their power play still needs improvement, as do their starts. Henrik Zetterberg missed practice Thursday because of sickness, but Babcock expects Zetterberg to be available tonight -- which would mean that for the first time this season, the Wings would have the same lineup two games in a row.
The Blues played Thursday at Columbus, so just like Tuesday against Dallas, the Wings will be the fresher team. That won't matter, though, Justin Abdelkader said, unless the Wings are more determined than the first time they met the Blues. "Can't make mistakes, can't give them breakaways like we did, and play a smarter and tighter game," he said.
Red Wings' second game with Blues means not repeating the season opener
Detroit Free Press | Feb 1