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One in, two out for Red Wings

Filppula returns to lineup; Howard and White will sit out

Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 5:10 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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One in, two out for Red Wings
The Red Wings will get Valtteri Filppula (shoulder) back in the lineup tonight. However, Jimmy Howard (ill) will sit out the game against the Flames. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

CALGARY – One step forward and two steps back.

That’s the ridiculous roster trend that continues to unfortunately follow the Red Wings as they begin a stretch of three games in western Canada this week.

The Red Wings will welcome Valtteri Filppula back to the lineup tonight against the Calgary Flames. But they’ll be without goalie Jimmy Howard and defenseman Ian White at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Howard, who traveled with the team to western Canada on Tuesday, reported is ill and not available for tonight’s game. Backup Jonas Gustavsson will make his third start for the Red Wings.

Asked why White wasn’t at the morning skate, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, “Personal reasons.” The Wings’ coach said that rookie Brian Lashoff will play, and that fourth-line winger Jordin Tootoo would be a game-time decision for tonight’s game.

But regardless of who’s in and who’s out, the Red Wings need wins, especially against the Flames, who have experienced their own struggles lately losing four of the last six games.

“We have a game today. They have to be desperate for points and we have to be desperate for points,” Babcock said. “Our road record isn’t good enough. We think we’ve done lots of good things as a team of late, and yet, we’ve won when we give up one (goal). When we give up two (goals) we haven’t won, so we have to continue to play well without the puck, and we have to find a way to generate offense. Our power play is 19th in the league at home and it’s 0-fer on the road, so we have to fix that, and just continue to get better.”

Filppula missed seven games with a sprained left shoulder suffered on Feb. 24 against Vancouver. Babcock said Wednesday afternoon that Filppula will skate on the Wings’ top forward line with center Henrik Zetterberg and winger Damien Brunner.

A similar one-in and one-out situation occurred last month when Johan Franzen returned from a hip flexor injury on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. It was that game that Filppula sat out the first of seven.

“We just got Franzen back a few games ago and he’s turning around, and the difference between him and Fil, Fil was able to skate while he was injured, so obviously that’s a big boost for us,” Babcock said. “For Z to have someone to go with and (Pavel) Datsyuk to have someone to go with I think that’s real important. We’re average to say the least without those guys.”

Justin Abdelkader and Franzen will at least begin tonight’s game on Datsyuk’s line, Babcock said. Daniel Cleary will play on the third line with rookie center Joakim Andersson and recently called up Gustav Nyquist.

Gustavsson said he learned of Howard’s illness this morning. And while it’s unusual to receive late notice, Gustavsson said being ready for the unexpected is part of the role of a veteran backup.

“Usually you know the day before,” he said, “but doesn't matter if you're starting or backing up, you’ve got to prepare, because you never know what happens.”'

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
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
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
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80