Reeling with two consecutive losses to the two worst teams in the Western Conference, the Red Wings now have to play one of the best.

The Red Wings visit St. Louis on Thursday, facing a Blues team that'll likely be angry after a 6-1 loss Tuesday, at home, to Nashville.

"Obviously it's a talented team that's a come off the rails a little bit but we'll probably have a tiger by the tail," coach Mike Babcock said. "Bu we should be the same way.

"It's two teams that need a win badly."

The Wings have split two games with the Blues this season — an ugly 6-0 loss on opening night Jan. 19, and a 5-4 victory at home Feb. 1.

"So far, St. Louis is definitely the best team we've seen," forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "They have four good lines, they work hard, and they play a good system."

Howard gets a rest

Goalie Jimmy Howard, who has started all nine games this season, didn't practice Wednesday as Petr Mrazek and Joey MacDonald handled the two nets.

"Just a breather," Babcock said of not practicing Howard. "Get him freshened up."

Babcock said he'll decide on playing either Howard or Mrazek against the Blues while on the flight to St. Louis.

MacDonald, who is recovering from a bulging disc, is going to St. Louis, will take part in the morning skate, and is expected to be cleared Friday. MacDonald said he could be ready to play either the two home weekend games Saturday (against Edmonton) or Sunday (against Los Angeles).

Babcock wouldn't commit to which goalie is playing when this week — although he would like to give Howard a break soon.

"We're just going day by day," Babcock said. "We'll make a decision and every day after. I'll keep you posted."



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130206/SPORTS0103/302060438#ixzz2KDwwVzkK