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GAME: St. Louis Blues (20-6-3-1) at Detroit Red Wings (21-11-3-1).TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Considering how close the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings are in the standings, it seems fitting the season series between the division rivals is deadlocked.
The Blues hope to break that tie while moving into one with the Red Wings for the best record in the Western Conference.
Only two points separate St. Louis and Detroit, the Western Conference leader with 46 points. The Blues, however, enter this matchup as the hotter team, going 7-0-2 in their last nine.
In three meetings this season, each team has won once on the other's home ice and the most recent matchup ended in a 4-4 tie on Dec. 4 at St. Louis. Both teams have scored 11 goals in the series.
The Blues are coming off a 1-1 tie with Phoenix on Saturday, when Chris Osgood made 24 saves and Pavol Demitra scored his 11th goal. St. Louis has not lost an overtime game since falling at Phoenix in its season opener.
Special teams has been one of the Blues' strengths. They have allowed only four power-play goals in their last 10 games, killing 39 of 43 short-handed situations. They have the sixth-best penalty-killing unit in the NHL.
Their power play is ranked fifth, having scored eight with the man advantage in nine games this month.
While St. Louis killed all five of Phoenix's power plays Saturday, it went 1-for-5 with the man advantage and outshot the Coyotes 31-25.
The Blues were without leading goal scorer Keith Tkachuk due to an infection in his ankle. Tkachuk is questionable for Monday's game.
"We played hard but were just snake-bitten," Osgood said.
The Red Wings perhaps were feeling a bit of the same after their 1-0 loss to Nashville on Saturday.
Detroit, averaging a league-leading 3.39 goals per game, was shut out for only the second time this season.
Pavel Datsyuk, second in the NHL with 40 points, played his second straight scoreless game after being named player of the week last Sunday. A day after being out with the flu, Curtis Joseph stopped 16 of 17 shots but fell to 6-5-0.
While the Red Wings have struggled a bit on the road, they are 13-3-0 at home, including a current six-game winning streak.
Detroit's last home loss was on Nov. 24, 4-1 to the Washington Capitals.
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