Red Wings-Blues set-up: getting to know you…all over again

The Detroit Red Wings play the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at Little Caesars Arena (7:30 PM EST start on Bally Sports Detroit Plus/Bally Sports Midwest/97.1 FM).

The Wings play St. Louis again in the Gateway City on December 9th, so a pair of teams that haven’t played each other since October of 2019 will become familiar with each other again over the course of the next three weeks.

St. Louis sits at 10-6-and-2 going into their 19th game, and they’ve won 2 of their past 3 games, including a 5-2 decision over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.

The 8-9-and-3 Red Wings are looking to head into the American Thanksgiving break at .500, and the Wings will play in their 21st game looking to snap an 0-3-and-1 road losing streak as they settle in for a 2-game home stand.

The Blues held an optional practice on Tuesday, per In the Slot’s Lou Korac

And during the evening, Blues coach Craig Berube spoke with 101 ESPN in St. Louis, revealing that Schenn will probably return vs. the Wings, as The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford noted:

StLouisBlues.com’s Chris Pinkert posted a Wings-Blues game preview which summarizes “the state of the Blues“…

BLUES The St. Louis Blues fell behind 2-0 on Monday night before they responded with five unanswered goals to earn a 5-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights.

The win included three goals in a span of 2 minutes and 15 seconds in the first period to help the Blues quickly erase the early two-goal deficit.

Justin Faulk scored his 100th career goal, David Perron and Vladimir Tarasenko each had two assists and Jordan Binnington made 32 saves in the win – the Blues’ second in their last three games.

“It was not the start we were looking for obviously, but at that point in the game, you know there’s lots of time left,” said Tyler Bozak, who scored in the win. “Some big goals to get the lead, and then I thought we played well the rest of the way.”

The win pulled the Blues back into second place in the Central Division with 22 points, just one point behind the division-leading Minnesota Wild.

HEAD TO HEAD Wednesday’s game will be the 287th meeting between the Blues and Red Wings. The teams are meeting Wednesday for the first time since Oct. 27, 2019.

The Blues have won two consecutive matchups with the Red Wings and five of the last six meetings.

And the Blues talked about their schedule to come with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas…

Monday’s 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights was the start of four games in six days for the Blues. So getting rest and making sure they are ready for game day is just as important as anything that may happen on the ice in practice.

“It’s about figuring out what you need in your lifestyle,” Binnington said. “Being able to keep that mind clear. And at the same time prepare and focus, and put in good work to feel good. It’s really kind of a juggling act.”

“So it’s just balancing it all and peaking at the right moments when you need to be out there. And playing games, winning games for the team.”

Besides Binnington and Schenn, only six other Blues were on the ice Tuesday: goalie Ville Husso, forward Klim Kostin, and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo, Niko Mikkola, Scott Perunovich and Jake Walman.

Schenn, whose return to the lineup appears imminent, skated for about an hour.

And yes, we’re going to be talking about Torey Krug’s Michigan ties over the next 24 hours, so I guess we’d better get used to it:

Wednesday’s game at Detroit is a homecoming for defenseman Torey Krug, who is from suburban Livonia, Mich., and spent three years at Michigan State University.

Field Level media also posted a Wings-Blues game preview that’s worth noting…

St. Louis will make its only trip to Detroit on the season having lost seven times in November, five of which have been in regulation.

There are a couple of silver linings for the Blues, one being that they are still in good shape in the standings. St. Louis (10-6-2, 22 points) enters second in the Central Division.

Second, the Blues are coming off a 5-2 win at home on Monday over Vegas, a game that saw St. Louis rally after falling behind 2-0.

St. Louis head coach Craig Berube credited his players for keeping up morale on the bench despite the deficit and the fact that the Blues had lost five of their previous six games going in.

“We ended up coming back and guys did a nice job,” Berube said.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings are on a four-game losing streak, gaining only one point in a recent four-game road trip. That point came courtesy of a 2-1 overtime loss to the league’s worst team, the Arizona Coyotes.

Detroit (8-9-3, 19 points), which has also lost seven games in November, is fourth in the Atlantic Division.

The Red Wings have played a lot recently and are tied with Montreal and Toronto for most games played in the NHL with 20 going into Wednesday’s action. Detroit hopes a little break and chance to practice more will help it recover from its recent slump.

We’ll glance at AP’s capsule game preview as well:

BOTTOM LINE: Detroit aims to stop its four-game skid with a victory over St. Louis.

The Red Wings are 5-2-2 at home. Detroit averages 8.6 penalty minutes per game, the ninth-most in the Eastern Conference. Filip Hronek leads the team serving 24 total minutes.

The Blues have gone 5-3-1 away from home. St. Louis ranks fourth in the Western Conference averaging 3.3 goals per game, led by Jordan Kyrou with eight.

The teams match up Wednesday for the first time this season.

TOP PERFORMERS: Lucas Raymond leads the Red Wings with 19 points, scoring seven goals and registering 12 assists. Hronek has six assists over the last 10 games for Detroit.

Kyrou has 18 total points while scoring eight goals and totaling 10 assists for the Blues. Brandon Saad has seven goals over the last 10 games for St. Louis.

LAST 10 GAMES: Red Wings: 4-5-1, averaging 2.5 goals, 4.2 assists, three penalties and 6.3 penalty minutes while giving up 3.1 goals per game with a .907 save percentage.

Blues: 4-5-1, averaging 2.9 goals, 5.3 assists, 2.6 penalties and 6.8 penalty minutes while giving up 2.9 goals per game with a .901 save percentage.

If you wish to glance back at the Blues’ 5-2 win over Vegas on Monday, the Associated Press and NHL.com (with stat sheets) offer glimpses therein, and Sportsnet posted a highlight clip:

The Blues dressed the following lineup vs. Vegas:

On the Red Wings’ side of the ice, practice was busy. We found out that Troy Stecher (wrist) and Mitchell Stephens (lower-body) will be out until the Olympic Break ends in late February, and that Marc Staal is still ill.

The Red Wings dressed their usual lineup otherwise, per MLive’s Ansar Khan…

And the talk on Tuesday involved the Wings getting the line of Robby Fabbri (the former Blue), Pius Suter and Filip Zadina going, as Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff noted:

It doesn’t help Zadina that all three members of Detroit’s second line can’t seem to find the net. Robby Fabbri has one goal and three points in his past 12 games. His shooting percentage is 5.8%, compared to 13.5% and 17.2% in his first two seasons in Detroit. The No. 2 center Pius Suter doesn’t have a point in his past four games. The line is getting chances, but can’t seem to cash in on them.

“I think (Zadina) measures himself as a goal scorer,” Blashill said.  “That’s when frustration sets in, when really he should be measuring himself on the process of playing.”

Blashill said many of his conversations with Zadina are about ways he can keep “building into winning hockey.”

“I think he is trying,” Blashill said. “…I think he’s got the capability to be much more than a goal scorer. He can be a give and go type guy and that’s what we are working on.”

The issue for Zadina is that he doesn’t have the physical tools to be what Blashill calls “a self-generator.” Those are the guys who create their own scoring chances with incredible speed like Connor McDavid or strength, size and power like Alex Ovechkin.  Zadina doesn’t have blinding speed, nor is he 230-pounds.

“He’s got good speed but if you look around the league at the real self-generating players, they either can really fly or they’re just huge men,” Blashill said. “If you’re not those two things, then you got to do it a little more with your brain and a little more give and go.”

Fabbri also spoke with the Free Press’s Dana Garauder about facing his former team…

Due to the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 campaign and the division-laden schedule last season, Fabbri will be playing against his former team for the first time. He planned to join about a dozen members of the Blues traveling party for dinner Tuesday.

He’s excited to skate against them Wednesday.

“Circled this one early in the year,” Fabbri said. “Long overdue.”

Fabbri appeared in 10 postseason games during the Blues’ surprising drive to the Stanley Cup in 2019. “That’s not something I’ll ever forget,” he said. “That’s something we’ll share together as a team and as a group that was there when we won.”

And the Red Wings did discuss facing the Blues, as noted by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan…

The Wings play host to St. Louis in the traditional Thanksgiving Eve game. The Cup-winning Blues have remained near championship level since the last time the Wings played them.

“They’ve earned that credibility and confidence,” Blashill said. “They’ve got a real good roster, still. Obviously some pieces have moved in and out. But the pieces they’ve moved in are good pieces.

“They’re a real good team and we know that. There are certainly challenges playing any of these teams you haven’t played in a long time. This is different because I don’t think their style has changed since the last time we played them.”

And DetroitRedWings.com’s Jonathan Mills

Preparing for a two-game homestand as they look to bounce back from a 0-3-1 road trip, the Detroit Red Wings held practice on Tuesday in advance of the team’s Thanksgiving Eve home game against the St. Louis Blues, a franchise just two years removed from their first Stanley Cup.

“They’re a Stanley Cup team, they’re a Stanley Cup coaching staff and they’ve earned that credibility and that confidence,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said on Tuesday. “They’ve got a real good roster still. Obviously, some pieces have moved in and out but the pieces they’ve moved in are really good pieces.”

This season, the Blues are 10-6-2 (22 points) and sit in a second-place tie in the Western Conference’s Central Division.

The Red Wings, who occupy fourth place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division with a record of 8-9-3 (19 points), have fared better at Little Caesars Arena this season. In front of the Red Wings faithful, the team has a 5-2-2 record.

Who also noted the following:

At the quarter-mark of the season, the Red Wings have played 20 games in 38 days, one of just three NHL teams to do so. Just last week, Detroit played four games in four different cities, a stretch that severely limited the team’s time to practice and recover.

“We’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time here,” center Robby Fabbri said. “So, these last couple of days have been good for everyone just to step away for a bit and to get the rest we needed and come back refreshed.”

Fabbri knows there is work to be done. Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes extended the Red Wings’ losing streak to four games. After the team’s strong start to the 2021-22 campaign, Fabbri said having some breathing room before Wednesday will prove beneficial.

“It allows us to sharpen up what we need to sharpen up,” Fabbri said. “You know, get back to the basics and get back to the way we were playing in the first 10 games. We’re going to do that through practice, and it’s nice that we have some time here.”

You can watch Fabbri and Blashill speak with the media if you wish:

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.