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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 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
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9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89