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Red Wings vs. Blues preview: Central Division showdown

The Blues have come out as one of the top teams in the NHL and are considered possible Cup contenders, while the Red Wings move forward with a depleted blue line and struggling offense.

Dilip Vishwanat

The Detroit Red Wings host the St. Louis Blues on Friday night in a Central Division rivalry matchup between two teams that could be headed in opposite directions.

The Red Wings have been a bit inconsistent on the young season, trading wins and losses to a 3-2-1 record while struggling mightily on the power play. Goal-scoring issues for a team featuring Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg is not something the NHL has seen in quite some time, yet through six games the Wings are averaging just 9.4 percent on the power play and just 2.33 goals per game.

On the other side sit the St. Louis Blues, who appear poised to pull ahead in the Central with a high-scoring offense and stifling defensive game. The Blues are scorching along at a 34.6 percent success rate with the man-advantage and have now won four straight games following a 4-1 win over Columbus on Thursday night.

The Blues and Red Wings first met on opening day on Jan. 19, with St. Louis perhaps setting the tone for the season with a 6-0 dominant win at home. The Red Wings remain a dangerous team at Joe Louis, however, and despite the offensive struggles appear to be improving with each game.

Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET with national coverage on NHL Network.