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Samuelsson, Lashoff in for Game 3

Red Wings juggle Saturday's lineup against the Ducks

Saturday, 05.4.2013 / 1:58 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  -
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Samuelsson, Lashoff in for Game 3
Mikael Samuelsson's lone assist of the season came on Brian Lashoff's first, and only, NHL goal in an shootout win at Columbus in January. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – For the third straight game, coach Mike Babcock has decided to jumble the look of the Red Wings’ fourth line against the Anaheim Ducks as the Western Conference quarterfinal series shifts to Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 tonight.

Veteran right wing Mikael Samuelsson will play for the first time since March 31 when he suffered a strained pectoral muscle against Chicago. He will skate on a forechecking line with center Cory Emmerton and left wing Patrick Eaves.

Samuelsson replaces Todd Bertuzzi, who played less than 8-minutes in Thursday’s 5-4 overtime victory, which evened the best-of-seven game series at one win apiece. Agitating forward Jordin Tootoo played in Game 1.

“Well, I just watched the game and I thought Sammy could help us. That was it,” Babcock said, following Saturday’s morning skate.

For Samuelsson, tonight’s game will be his career playoff game No. 100, and his first with the Red Wings since Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I have to play a simple game, that's priority No. 1,” said Samuelsson, who has produced 22 goals and 36 assists in the postseason. “Just play a simple game, skate hard and hit guys. That's where I'm going to start, and hopefully I'll get a feel for the puck.”

Besides playing with Emmerton and Eaves, Samuelsson will man the right point on the Wings’ second power-play unit, opposite of defenseman Jakub Kindl.

It’s been a frustrating season for Samuelsson who missed most of the season with a plethora of injuries, beginning with a sore groin during training camp in mid-January. He started the season, but aggravated the groin in the second game. He returned to the lineup a month later, but the day after returning, he suffered a fractured index finger that kept him away for six weeks.

In all, Samuelsson produced an assist with four shots on goal and a minus-3 rating in four games.

“Unfortunately, I got injured, but that's nothing I think about right now,” Samuelsson said. “Like everybody else, I come in here really excited about tonight. Playoffs (are) awesome. That's what I live and die for. It's going to be fun.”

DEBUT PREPARATION: Brian Lashoff is as prepared as he’s going to be when he plays in his first career playoff game tonight in Game 3 against the Ducks.

“I’ve been watching plenty of video, so there’s no reason I can’t come in and contribute,” Lashoff said. “I’ve been taking warm-ups and coming to the rink every day like I’m playing. To get the call like that is definitely exciting. I’m ready.”

Lashoff got the call after fellow rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser suffered a season-end thumb injury late in Game 3 at Honda Center.

Babcock had other options, but chose Lashoff over veterans Carlo Colaiacovo and Ian White.

“Obviously it’s been awhile since I played, so I’ve been itching to get out there,” Lashoff said. “I’ve been watching plenty of video and working out. I’m ready to go.”

Lashoff played in 31 games this season, but the 6-foot-3 defenseman – who was given the nickname ‘Smash’ by teammates – hasn’t played since April 4 at Phoenix.

Even as a healthy scratch, Lashoff has noticed the difference between the regular season and the playoffs.

“The intensity is up a notch or two. It’s really physical and more competitive, which I like,” he said. “It’s been fun to watch, but at the same time, I want to be out there.

“I think it’s do the things that got me here. I came up for one game and ended up staying the whole season. I’m going to be focusing on keeping it simple when I have the puck and playing good on the penalty kill.”

BRUNNER’S TAKE: Playoff hockey is nothing new for Damien Brunner, who spent six seasons in the Swiss League, where his teams always qualified from the postseason.

But this spring is a little different for Brunner, who said the Red Wings have been playing playoff hockey for the last two weeks.

“The intensity did pick up but I thought it's not that big a difference like everyone says,” Brunner said, referring to the first two games against the Ducks at Honda Center. “I thought we already played playoff hockey just to get into the playoffs.”

Brunner was among five players to make their NHL postseason debuts this week for the Red Wings. But he’s make the biggest impact, collecting a goal and two assists in Thursday’s 5-4 overtime victory.

“It's fun, that's what it's all about,” Brunner said. “I felt good right away in Game 1, too. We had a good jump. Legs were going. Unfortunately we didn't score.”

The 27-year-old forward, who has been working on the third line with fellow rookies Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, is looking forward to playing in his first playoff game at The Joe.

“It's going to be awesome,” Brunner said. “I've been waiting for this for quite a bit now and I'm really excited to come in. … It's going to be an awesome feeling walking into The Joe tonight.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose




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
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
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
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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


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
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80