Defenseman Niklas Kronwall isn’t in the Detroit Red Wings’ lineup on Wednesday against Arizona. He’s being held out with a lower-body injury, the team announced on Twitter.
Defenseman Jakub Kindl will play for the first time since Feb. 28 as a result.
Detroit has essentially missed its opportunity to secure the home-ice advantage in the first round, but the squad still needs to have a strong finish to stay ahead of the surging Ottawa Senators or potentially the Boston Bruins in the battle for the third seed in the Atlantic Division.
More importantly though, Detroit needs Kronwall to be healthy going into the playoffs. He logs a team-high 23:45 minutes per game and has scored eight goals and 40 points in 71 contests in 2014-15. It’s not clear at this time how significant Kronwall’s injury is or if he might miss any playing time beyond this contest.
Mike Babcock is excited at the potential for trade-deadline acquisition Marek Zidlicky to improve his Detroit Red Wings.
“Zidlicky’s going to play on the power play and play a regular shift, starting with [Brendan] Smith, and he’s going to run our power play with [Pavel] Datsyuk, and we’ll see kind of where it goes from there,” the coach said Tuesday, per CBS Detroit.
“Zidlicky, he’s a competitor, he can shoot the puck, he can make plays, he’s got good offensive skill. I think he’ll be a real addition. He made some plays in practice today that make you smile, which is positive.”
At the same time, Babcock wants to keep rookie Alexei Marchenko, the Wings’ only other right-shooting d-man, involved.
“We really like Marchenko,” Babcock said, per NHL.com. “Marchenko is a real good player and he has played very well for us. You can never have too many d-men at this time of the year. We wanted to make sure we had enough hands on deck. We’re going to make sure he’s playing.”
Marchenko is currently on injured reserve with an oblique strain, but shouldn’t be out too long.
His injury leaves the Wings with seven d-men on their active roster. Tonight versus the Rangers, Jakub Kindl is expected to be the healthy scratch.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl took a big step towards returning from an elbow injury by reporting to AHL Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint. Detroit announced that Kindl is expected to be in the Grand Rapids’ lineup against the AHL Chicago Wolves on Sunday.
The 28-year-old has nine points, including seven with the man advantage, in 28 contests with Detroit this season. He hasn’t played since Dec. 27.
Since being taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kindl has gone on to record 11 goals and 58 points in 241 career games. He’s in the second season of a four-year, $9.6 million contract.
After barely squeaking into the playoffs last season, the Red Wings have stood out in 2014-15 with a 31-13-9 record that puts them in the running for the Eastern Conference title.