Pavel Datsyuk,  Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen

Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen might help Red Wings fight off elimination after all


There were quite a few people who expected the second round of the 2011 playoffs to be over by the end of this weekend. The Philadelphia Flyers continued their implosion on Friday, but the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators stayed alive. Detroit faces the prospect of elimination once again in Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks tonight. Let’s take a look at the contest.

Detroit @ San Jose (Versus) – 8 p.m. ET; Sharks lead series 3-1

There were rumors that Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen might miss Game 5, but the Red Wings have denied those murmurs. Their lack of a morning skate added fuel to the confusion yet it seems like both players will skate for Detroit. We’ll let you know if that verdict changes once again, though.

Even if those two players manage to play tonight, it’s tough to shake the feeling that the Red Wings are a little worn down. They have the experience, skill and guile to come back from this deficit, but do they have the energy to complete this turnaround against a big, talented Sharks team?

Despite all the firepower, depth players have made a big difference in this series so far. Then again, it’s pretty tough to fathom Joe Pavelski qualifying as a “depth” player, but it shows just how deep the Sharks’ forward group really is right now.

The Red Wings earned four wins in their last five Game 5 contests, while the Sharks are 9-4 in Game 5 contests at home in their franchise history, according to the Associated Press.

Will history repeat itself with another five-game series win for San Jose or will another Western semifinals series go to at least six games? We’ll find out tonight.

Video: Hextall comments on AHL d-man Pyett, who was diagnosed with sarcoma in leg

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Defenseman Logan Pyett of the Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate has been diagnosed with a form of cancer and will be out indefinitely.

The team said Friday the 27-year-old Canadian has a sarcoma in his upper leg. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall says the club offers “heartfelt thoughts and prayers.”

Pyett signed a one-year contract with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after being at the Flyers’ training camp. He was selected by Detroit in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL entry draft. He signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers in 2012 and spent two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Update: Wisniewski tore ACL 47 seconds into ‘Canes debut

James Wisniewski, John-Michael Liles, Elias Lindholm
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Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.

Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.

From the club:

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.

Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.

This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.

Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.