The Detroit Red Wings appear to have revived their slumping offense. To keep it up, they may need to defeat their old starting goaltender.
Detroit could face Manny Legace for the first time Saturday, as it looks to win its fifth straight meeting with the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues.
Legace posted a phenomenal 112-34 record with 16 ties in six seasons with the Red Wings. He achieved career highs in both wins (37) and games played (51) last season to go with a 2.19 goals-against average. Legace became a free agent in the offseason, and departed Detroit for the rival Blues.
As the starting goalie in St. Louis, Legace has had a rocky start, with a 2-2 record, 3.55 GAA and .869 save percentage in five starts. He has never finished a season with a GAA higher than 2.75 or a save percentage lower than .906.
Detroit (5-4-1) displayed its most offense in more than two weeks in Friday's 4-3 win over Dallas - the team's second straight victory. After scoring just five total goals in their last four games, the Red Wings scored their most since a 9-2 victory over Phoenix on Oct. 11.
"Anytime you can step up and beat a team that's 8-1 in their first nine games, you know you've done something," center Kris Draper said after the Red Wings handed Dallas its first home loss of the season.
Jiri Hudler and Nicklas Lidstrom each scored in the opening period to give Detroit a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes. Lidstrom, who didn't have a goal coming into the game but has eight assists, scored his second goal in the second period on a power play to give the Red Wings a 4-2 lead.
"It feels great to get rid of the zero in the stats but it's more important to get the win," Lidstrom said. "The whole team responded well."
Pavel Datsyuk added a goal and an assist and goaltender Dominik Hasek made 17 saves.
St. Louis (3-3-1) hasn't played since last Saturday's 4-3 road win over Chicago that snapped a two-game losing streak. The Blues have won three of their last five games after starting the season 0-2-1.
Second-year right wing Lee Stempniak had the first three-point game of his career against Chicago, scoring twice and adding an assist.
Stempniak, who had 27 points in 57 games in 2005-06, has five goals and three assists this season to lead St. Louis in scoring.
"I definitely feel so much more comfortable this year," Stempniak said. "I played a lot for a rookie last year, especially after the trade deadline and we lost a couple of guys. All the experiences I had last year are helping me this year."
The Red Wings won seven of eight games against the Blues in 2005-06, including all four meetings at St. Louis. Detroit has lost only once in its last 16 trips to St. Louis since 1999, a 3-2 overtime defeat on Apr. 13, 2002. The Wings haven't lost in regulation there since Dec. 26, 1998.
While the Blues have struggled against the Red Wings on home ice, they've played well at the Scottrade Center overall this season. St. Louis is 2-1-1 at home, scoring five power-play goals in the four games and killing off 25 of 28 penalties.
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