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All the St. Louis Blues must do to avoid their longest losing streak since Andy Murray took over as coach last year is find a way to beat the league's best team as it's coming off a historic win.
St. Louis looks to snap a four-game slide as it meets the league-leading Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at the Scottrade Center.
The Central Division rivals have split two games this season, with each winning at home. St. Louis rookie David Perron scored twice in a four-goal second period en route to a 4-3 win on Nov. 13, the Blues' third straight home win over the Red Wings following a stretch of 10 losses and one tie.
The Blues (16-12-2), who dropped Murray's first four games after he took over for the fired Mike Kitchen on Dec. 11, 2006, matched that skid with a 5-3 loss to Calgary on Sunday.
"It's tough right now," said Blues forward Keith Tkachuk. "We're losing ground, but we competed tonight. The bottom line is getting results. We're just creeping down in the standings right now. We had chances to win the hockey game, but too many mistakes cost us."
With 34 points, St. Louis is in a three-way tie with Chicago and Columbus for second place in the Central - 19 points behind Detroit.
Andy McDonald, acquired Friday from defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim for Doug Weight, had a goal and assist in his St. Louis debut. He has just three goals and seven assists, though, in 21 career games against the Red Wings.
Manny Legace, who gave up a season-high four goals, has won his last three starts at home against the Red Wings - his former club. Legace registered 112 victories for Detroit from 1999-2006, before joining the Blues.
Detroit is coming off its 10th win in 11 games after defeating Los Angeles 6-2 on Wednesday behind a career-high four assists from Niklas Kronwall. Dominik Hasek made 18 saves for his 372nd career win, tying the six-time Vezina Trophy winner with Andy Moog for 12th on the all-time list.
"We controlled the game in every area," said Cleary, who had a goal and assist.
The Red Wings (25-6-3) also tied the franchise record for fewest games needed to reach 25 wins, set in 1995-96. Detroit went on to set franchise bests with 62 wins and 131 points that season.
"There's an absolute reason why they're the best team in the league," Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera said. "All four lines are on the same page and all six D are on the same page."
Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and assist versus the Kings for his fourth straight two-point game. Though he leads the Red Wings with 25 goals and 49 points this season, Zetterberg has failed to tally a point in his last three visits to St. Louis, and has only one goal in his last five games there.
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