Detroit’s leading goalscorer will return to the lineup on Tuesday — for the first time in seven games — when the Wings take on the Panthers in Florida. Datsyuk, who hasn’t played since suffering a head injury against Ottawa on Nov. 23, will rejoin a Red Wings team that’s caught fire recently — they went 5-2-0 in the seven games sans Datsyuk, with Johan Franzen leading the way with nine points.
“I thought Franzen was a star when Pav was out,” head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. “Leadership-wise, determination-wise, how he played. Now that’s the bench mark. You don’t go back to the other guy. You continue to be what you’ve been. He should be proud of how he played, and now we need him to keep playing like that.”
Things should continue to roll for Franzen, as he’ll be centered by Datsyuk on Tuesday — but that won’t be the only line of note. The Tomas Tatar-Gustav Nyquist-Joakim Andersson unit also impressed over the last seven games and earned high praise from Babcock.
As for how Datsyuk is feeling after so much time off?
“Feel OK,” he said. “Out of shape, but OK.”
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.