Wings hoping Datsyuk will give them more puck possession

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The Detroit Red Wings have been playing better hockey lately.

Not great hockey, mind you. But better.

And tonight against San Jose, they’ll get Pavel Datsyuk back.

“I think the last three games we’ve been spending more time in the offensive end than the other team, so we’re getting better,” forward Henrik Zetterberg told NHL.com. “But obviously having [Datsyuk] back, protecting the puck and holding onto the puck, will help us.”

The Red Wings have managed to survive without Datsyuk, going 8-6-1 in their first 15 games. But if not for the goaltending of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard, Datsyuk’s absence (ankle) could have been considerably more costly.

The key now will be for Datsyuk to stay healthy. That’s been a major issue for the 37-year-old in recent seasons.

Datsyuk will start on the wing with Zetterberg at center and Justin Abdelkader on the other wing. The second line will feature young Dylan Larkin between Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.