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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, April 13th (All times Eastern)

Detroit Red Wings (38-28-15) at St. Louis Blues (52-22-7), 12:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - On the final day of action before the playoffs, the struggling St. Louis Blues will try to halt a five-game slide when they host the Detroit Red Wings in Sunday's afternoon battle at Scottrade Center.

On March 29, the Blues held a nine-point lead over Colorado for first place in the Central Division, but thanks to an 0-5-0 stretch from St. Louis and a timely surge by the Avalanche, the title race will come down to the final day of the regular season.

The Avs and Blues are locked at 111 points, but St. Louis needs to finish ahead of Colorado, which will win the tiebreaker due to having four more non- shootout wins. The Avalanche are playing on the road Sunday night against the Anaheim Ducks, who are three points ahead of Colorado and St. Louis and have clinched the best record in the West.

The team finishing second in the Central will host the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round. The division winner will hold home-ice in the first round against Minnesota.

Detroit is also playoff bound as the second wild card team in the East. The Red Wings will begin the postseason on the road against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins.

St. Louis is dealing with a long list of injuries at the moment and played Friday in Dallas without six of its top 12 forwards. The short-handed Blues dropped a 3-0 decision to the Stars, who clinched their first postseason berth since 2008 with the win.

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped all 22 shots sent his way by the Blues, who have scored a total of five goals during their current losing streak. The slide is the longest string of regulation losses for St. Louis since another 0-5-0 skid from Dec. 10-18, 2008.

Ryan Miller stopped 37-of-40 shots in a losing effort for the Blues, but earned praise from his head coach after the contest.

"I think this was the best game our goalie has played for us and that was really good to see," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Off the back-to- back we had some tired legs as the game went on."

St. Louis played without forwards David Backes, Brenden Morrow, T.J. Oshie, Derek Roy, Vladimir Sobotka and Vladimir Tarasenko on Friday. Patrik Berglund, another forward, was forced to leave the game in Dallas with a shoulder injury and did not return.

One or more of those players could be back on Sunday, but Hitchcock did not specify which ones.

"Anybody that can play is playing. Anybody that can't, isn't," Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday. "We're playing that game to win and that's going to be our attitude."

The Red Wings won't feel sorry for St. Louis, as Detroit has been decimated by injuries for much of the season and is still without captain Henrik Zetterberg.

Detroit has pushed through its injury problems to make the playoffs for a 23rd straight season, but the club enters its regular-season finale having lost two straight and three of four.

The Red Wings lost Friday to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, who used first- period goals from Elias Lindholm and Jiri Tlusty to down Detroit, 2-1, and pick up their first regular-season win in the Motor City since 1989. The club's last victory in Detroit was on Nov. 14, 1989, when the Hurricanes were still known as the Hartford Whalers.

Jimmy Howard turned aside 17-of-19 shots for the Red Wings, while Riley Sheahan scored Detroit's lone goal.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock was not impressed with his club's defensive effort on Friday, as the Red Wings tried to match Carolina in a wide-open affair.

"At one point we had a 4-on-3, they had a 3-on-1, we had a 3-on-2. That's not how we play. That's river hockey. That's not how we're going to have success," Babcock said.

St. Louis has won three straight against the Red Wings and notched a 4-1 win in Detroit on Jan. 20. The Blues have dropped two of their last three home games against Detroit.

The Blues are 28-8-4 as the home team in 2013-14, while the Red Wings are 20-15-5 as the visiting club.

Howard will get the start Sunday for Detroit and is 11-7-2 with a 2.63 goals against average and .914 save percentage in 20 career games against St. Louis.

Miller is 2-8-2 with a 3.40 GAA and .899 save percentage in 12 lifetime games versus Detroit. Blues backup Brian Elliott is 3-6-1 with a 2.49 GAA and .916 save percentage in 10 career appearances in this series.

04/13 10:41:23 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
9th
SFG 11
KAN 4
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
 
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
 
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
 
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
 
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
2nd OT
PSU 24
OSU 24
 
3rd
UTAH 10
USC 14
 
2nd
WASH 0
ARST 0
 
11:59pm Saturday
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
 
2nd Intermission
CAL 1
WAS 2
 
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14