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Mursak returns to Red Wings' lineup

Forward will skate with Andersson, Tatar on third forward line

Thursday, 02.21.2013 / 2:05 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Mursak returns to Red Wings\' lineup
Forward Jan Mursak missed nearly five weeks with a sprained collarbone, which is suffered during the first period of the season-opener at st. Louis. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – For two straight years Jan Mursak has missed significant playing time due to early-season injuries.

This time around, the 5-foot-11 forward is recovering from a collar bone injury sustained in the season-opener at St. Louis. But he’ll be back in the lineup when the Red Wings host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Joe Louis Arena.

“It hasn’t been fun. I’m just trying to stay positive,” said Mursak, who has two goals and two assists in 45 career games in Detroit. “Some days I’m a little more frustrated than others, but hopefully that’s the end of the injuries. Hopefully I can keep playing here without being hurt.”

The 25-year-old will work on the third forward line with a pair of familiar faces, skating with center Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar. The three played together in Grand Rapids with the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate.

“We know each other a little more,” Mursak said. “I always had fun playing with those guys so hopefully we can show that here on the NHL level too.”

Mursak will play in place of Patrick Eaves, who is sitting out his team-high eighth game as a healthy scratch.

The Wings need Mursak to be relentless on the forecheck, coach Mike Babcock said.

“He’s got to shoot the puck and he’s got to be real good defensively, good on the wall and good decision-making at their blue line,” Babcock said. “He’s like anybody coming back, does he want to play short shifts (or) play real hard to earn yourself more ice-time?”

The injury forced Mursak to miss 14 games, which is just 13 percent of the 105 man-games lost by the Red Wings this season. The last time the NHL had an abbreviated 48-game schedule (1995), Detroit had 102 man games lost to injury or illness. Mike Krushelnyski led the way with 23 missed games, followed by Mark Howe (22) and Darren McCarty (15).

With the rash of injuries, Mursak said it’s not easy to erase the injury from his mind.

“You always think that you don’t want to get hurt again,” he said. “I don’t want to be scared out there. I think I’m physically strong enough that I can handle the guys at that level and I’ll show that out there too.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
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8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
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10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80