NHL Tonight: Final Detroit Red Wings-St. Louis Blues Matchup of the Season

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2008

Tonight is the second game of an extended home-and-home series between the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues. The Wings won the first half of the series, 2-1, on Tuesday.

This will be the eighth and final game between the two teams this season. The Wings have won four of the seven games already played.

The puck drops at 7:30 PM ET. 

The Blues have been idle since Tuesday. They may see the return of Andy McDonald (foot) tonight. Martin Rucinsky (back) and Jay McKee (foot) are questionable, and Dan Hinote (side) and Mike Johnson (shoulder) are out.

Manny Legace should be in net tonight.

For the, uh, unique perspective of the average Blues fan, see St. Louis Game Time.

The Wings have also been idle since Tuesday.

Darren McCarty (ribs) is scheduled to make his return to the NHL tonight, after being out of the League for almost a year.  It will be his first game as a Red Wing since the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals. With his return, Aaron Downey is a healthy scratch.

Dallas Drake (chest) may return, but he has to be cleared by the team medical staff first.  The Wings will recognize Drake tonight for playing in his 1,000th NHL game on March 11th.

Valtteri Filppula (knee, groin) is apparently ready to go and is probable for tonight.

Mikael Samuelsson (groin) did not complete practice yesterday. No word on his status yet, but the Wings are likely to be cautious with him. So, he'll probably sit.

Tomas Holmstrom (abdomen) is out.

Brad Stuart (broken finger) also remains out.

Projected lines:





Projected pairings:




Dominik Hasek (flu) did not practice yesterday, but will play tonight if he can skate this morning. Otherwise, Chris Osgood will start and Jimmy Howard will back him up.

For more of the Wings perspective, see Snapshots, Abel to Yzerman, HockeyTownTodd, Behind the Jersey, No Pun Intended, yzerman is god, Detroit Hockey, LetsGoWings, Red Wings Brasil, BR Red Wings, and Winging It In Motown.

Tonight will be interesting. The return of McCarty should have the Joe rocking and should provide an emotional undercurrent that runs the risk of clashing with the Blues' more pugilistic tendencies.

Mac is likely to face a number of opportunities to stand up for his teammates as the Blues are certain to take liberties with the Wings in this their last opportunity to do so.

Here's hoping that if this game becomes a power play fest, the Wings tear St. Louis apart.

Again, thanks to Christy Hammond of Behind the Jersey, Megan and I will be at the game.