The Detroit Red Wings’ offense was frighteningly dangerous in their first round sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes, even while missing key pieces. That puzzle should be nearly complete to start their second round series against the San Jose Sharks tonight, as both Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen are expected to return to the fold.
Mike Modano and Kris Draper will reportedly be healthy scratches to make room for those two outstanding forwards.
Zetterberg missed the entire four-game sweep while Franzen missed Game 4 because of an ankle injury (although his facial wounds probably didn’t help much either).
The Red Wings will probably need more offensive punch in this second round series than they did against the Coyotes. (San Jose scored 248 goals in 2010-11 compared to 231 by Phoenix.) Detroit is expected to line Zetterberg up with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, reuniting one of the best trios in the NHL. Franzen remains an outstanding playoff performer himself, with three points in three games in the first round and 44 in his last 38 postseason games.
Last year’s series against the Sharks was exciting but ultimately short and disappointing for the Red Wings. If they want this rematch to turn out better, they’ll need great performances from star players such as Franzen and Zetterberg.