Datsyuk back for tonight’s big clash vs. Chicago

Pasha’s back.

On Friday, Pavel Datsyuk will return from a two-game absence when Detroit takes on Chicago in the latest installment of a heated rivalry. Datsyuk, who’s missed the last two games with a groin ailment, has only played eight games this season (he was dealing with a shoulder problem earlier) but has been electric when in the lineup, scoring five goals and 10 points while averaging over 19 minutes per night.

He’s probably looking forward to getting a shot at Chicago.

The 36-year-old has faced the Blackhawks 61 times over his career and has fared quite well, with 15 goals and 47 points. Tonight also represents one of the rare times the two teams meet under the NHL’s new alignment; a storied rivalry, Red Wings-Blackhawks doesn’t happen as often as it used to now that the clubs are in opposite conferences — but that doesn’t mean the matchup is any less significant.

“Really excited, really looking forward to playing Chicago,” Tomas Tatar said, per the Free Press. “They have a really good team, so it’s nice to play against them. And I think, for our fans, it’s huge, too.

“We have big rivalry.”

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