One of Detroit’s four 20-goal scorers won’t be in the lineup tonight for its series opener against Tampa Bay.
Justin Abdelkader, who scored a career-high 23 times this year, will sit out this evening’s tilt with a hand injury carried over from the regular season. Abdelkader suffered the ailment on April 4 against the Minnesota Wild and missed the final four regular-season games, but did practice this week in the hopes of being ready for Game 1.
Without him in the lineup, the Red Wings will make some adjustments.
The biggest of which might be putting Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together on a line with Darren Helm. That trio provides plenty of offense — Datsyuk had 65 points in 63 games this year, Zetterberg 66 in 77 — and Helm scored a personal best 15 goals.
As for the rest of the lines…
Gustav Nyquist – Riley Sheahan – Tomas Tatar
Stephen Weiss – Joakim Andersson – Tomas Jurco
Drew Miller – Luke Glendening – Landon Ferraro
While head coach Mike Babcock does have some good depth here and nice options in reserve, Abdelkader will still be missed. He’s blossomed into a good net-front/power forward type and, despite being just 28 years old, has a wealth of postseason experience — 70 career playoff games heading into this spring.