Happy returns: Red Wings edge Panthers 4-3

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The Detroit Red Wings got Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader back on Saturday, and as an added bonus, they also beat the Florida Panthers 4-3.

Zetterberg himself yielded immediate dividends, as he scored his 12th goal of the season. Abdelkader didn’t collect a point tonight, but the Red Wings are likely happy to have that physical force back in the lineup (three hits).

Maybe tonight’s victory doesn’t sound very impressive out of context – Florida has now lost three games in a row – but the Panthers beat Detroit twice in a row, so there must be a feeling of relief for the Red Wings.

It’s another relief that the Red Wings have been curiously stronger on the road (now 12-3-3 away from Hockeytown) compared to how mediocre they have been in Detroit (6-10-6), because they’re readying for a tough run of games.¬†They face the Predators in Nashville on Monday, “host” Toronto outdoors on Wednesday and then play five straight games on the road against tough Pacific Division competition.

At least they’re getting healthier as that tough stretch (and the 2014 Winter Classic) approaches.