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Cleary returns for showdown vs. Caps

Veteran forward was a healthy scratch for one game this week

Friday, 11.15.2013 / 1:15 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Cleary returns for showdown vs. Caps
Daniel Cleary will be back in the Red Wings' lineup tonight, returning to his spot on the third line and as a net-front on the second power-play unit. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROITDaniel Cleary will return to the Red Wings’ lineup tonight against the Washington Capitals.

The winger was a healthy scratch in a 3-2 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday.

“For a guy of his hockey sense and his ability he’s got to be a factor every night and I don’t see that,” coach Mike Babcock said earlier this week.

Cleary will replace rookie Tomas Tatar on the third line, joining center Joakim Andersson and Mikael Samuelsson.

Cleary has recorded one goal and two assist in 18 games this season, and is looking forward to getting back in the lineup and helping Detroit avoid its first seven-game home winless streak in 24 years.

“Obviously we have to get back to winning at home, haven’t been very good lately so I’m excited and have to just go out and play well,” Cleary said. “I’m not going to change how I play, just go out and work hard and try to be effective on the forecheck and try to provide some offense.”

Detroit’s offense has struggled this season, as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have accounted for 40 percent of the team’s goals. The Euro Twins’ linemate Todd Bertuzzi has recorded five goals, but no one else on the roster has notched more than three.

Babcock has changed the Red Wings’ lineup to account for injuries and to generate more offense from other lines, but knows a six-game winless skid isn’t helping his team’s confidence.

“No question. Confidence is fleeting in the NHL,” Babcock said. “It’s amazing to me how a guy can score goals all the time and then suddenly not score for a while. It’s the same with your team, so you got to stay the course. I thought we played well enough to win last game and we didn’t, so we can hang our head and feel bad for ourselves or we can do the same thing again. We got to do it in a more consistent basis and do it right and we’ll be all right.’’

Jonathan Ericsson will also return to the lineup tonight after missing 10 games with a shoulder injury. His presence with Niklas Kronwall in the top defensive pairing will be key against the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin.

“We’re a better team with him,” Babcock said of Ericsson. “The forwards need the puck and he can do that plus play against real good players.

“Their third line scores big time. We’re going to need our top two pairs probably play against three lines so it’s important to have a real good top two.”

The Red Wings went 3-2-5 in the 10 games Ericsson missed. The defenseman has one goal and two assists in the nine games that he’s appeared in this season, and he’s looking forward to being tested by Ovechkin.

“It’s a good test right away,” Ericsson said. “I think so. It’s fun. Hopefully I can help out.”

Washington enters Joe Louis Arena with the No. 2 power play and No. 1 penalty kill in the league, led by Ovechkin, who has recorded 14 goals in 17 games this season. Nicklas Backstrom leads the Capitals with 15 assists, centering the top line with Ovechkin and Brooks Laich, and poses another threat to the Red Wings with his passing capabilities.

“You’ve just got to minimize his space and time,” Henrik Zetterberg said of Ovechkin. “Obviously, he’s got a great shot and finds a way to always be open it seems. Playing with Backstrom, too, he’s a really good disher. You’ve just got to be aware of them whenever they’re out there and try to have the puck as much as possible.”

EAVES CLEARS: Veteran forward Patrick Eaves cleared waivers at noon today. Eaves, who had no points and was a minus-2 in three games with the Red Wings, has been assigned to the team’s minor-league club in Grand Rapids.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

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
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
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