For the fourth time in 13 games the Red Wings take on the Blues, an opponent that so far stands as a fine measurement of how far the Wings have come.

Since getting shelled 6-0 in St. Louis on opening night, the Wings have beaten the Blues twice, the last time in St. Louis, starting Detroit's three-game winning streak.

Niklas Kronwall called that last meeting among the Wings' finest outings because, "we did the little things right," he said after Tuesday's practice. "Our forwards were tremendous, all over the place. We got great goaltending. I definitely think that was one of our better games this year."

Coach Mike Babcock said the same lineup that stretched the streak through the weekend will play tonight, not that there are many options. Unfortunately, neither Darren Helm nor Todd Bertuzzi was able to skate, despite several days to rest each forward's ailing back. All Babcock knew was that "they're unavailable to us," and general manager Ken Holland confirmed there is nothing new.

The news was better among those bothered by groin injuries: Mikael Samuelsson and Jonas Gustavsson practiced for the first time, and Samuelsson said maybe he'll be ready by the weekend. Gustavsson wouldn't pin a date on his possible return.

As Daniel Cleary put it, "we're still missing a full line of talented people. Missing Bert is a huge loss, missing Helmer is a huge loss. And missing Sammy is a huge loss."