Wings notes: Kindl returns, Lidstrom game-time decision, Ericsson back Monday

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Things are getting better for the Detroit Red Wings, and quickly at that.

Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press reports that a trio of defensemen are getting healthy and two of them could suit up for tonight’s game against Carolina. Jakub Kindl will definitely be back in tonight’s lineup while captain Nicklas Lidstrom will be a game-time decision. Jonathan Ericsson is looking like he’ll be back for Detroit on Monday night.

If Lidstrom can’t go tonight, rookie Brendan Smith will get the start instead. Kindl’s return made it possible for Detroit to send Doug Janik back to the AHL. Detroit has been without Lidstrom and Ericsson since February 25 while Kindl has been gone since March 4.

Ty Conklin will get the start in tonight’s game. He’s coming off a stellar, but losing, effort against the Rangers on Wednesday.

Ty Conklin clears waivers, gets start vs. Rangers tonight


After sweating things out for the past 24 hours, Detroit has a starting goalie for tonight’s battle with the New York Rangers.

Veteran backup Ty Conklin cleared re-entry waivers and according to Helene St. James of the Free Press, will get the start on Broadway this evening. With Jimmy Howard again bothered by groin issues and Joey MacDonald out with back problems, the Wings had put the call out to bring back Conklin.

Had Conklin not cleared, rookie Jordan Pearce would’ve gotten the call tonight to make his first career NHL start. Instead, Conklin will make his first appearance with the Wings since February 4 when he gave up three goals in 20 minutes to the Edmonton Oilers. On the upside for the Wings, Howard tells St. James that he’s hopeful to start Saturday’s game against Carolina.

Tonight on NBCSN: Blackhawks and Red Wings face off in a battle of winning streaks


Things in the Detroit-Chicago rivalry this season have been relatively quiet but that’s not likely to stay the same when they meet tonight (8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN). After going through a nine-game losing streak, the Blackhawks are winners of three in a row. Meanwhile, you might’ve heard a bit about the Red Wings’ home winning streak, but they head to Chicago on a six-game win streak of their own.

As the saying goes, something’s got to give.

Chicago snapping out of their funk has been thanks to opportunistic goal scoring and seeing Corey Crawford getting his game back in order. The Blackhawks pounced on both the Rangers and Blue Jackets recently to knock them down before they knew what hit them.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa have all been strong with their offense of late but could use a little more out of Patrick Kane to get back to their full capabilities. Duncan Keith reemerging as a presence along the blue line has given Chicago a huge lift to take the stress off their forwards as well. They’ll need all that and more against Detroit.

The Red Wings have seen just about everything go right of late. Jimmy Howard gets hurt? Fine, Joey MacDonald steps in and they don’t miss a beat. Henrik Zetterberg slumps? That’s OK, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen will pick up the slack. Now Zetterberg is playing better and the Wings are getting production from all four lines as well as their defense. No wonder they’ve got the best record in the league.

One area where they’ve been weak all season, however, is on the road. We know how incredible the Red Wings have been at home, but away from Joe Louis Arena they’re mortal going 15-15-1. With Chicago once again beaming with confidence, if the Wings want to keep their own winning streak alive, they’ll have to get their match-ups figured out in the hostile atmosphere of United Center.

Conked out: Ty Conklin loses backup job in Detroit, now on waivers


It was inevitable with how well Joey MacDonald has played with Jimmy Howard out of action, but Ty Conklin’s run as the Red Wings’ backup goalie is over.

The Wings have put Conklin on waivers to make room for the return of Howard to the Detroit lineup. Conklin’s less-than stellar play this season got him stapled to the bench even with Howard out injured. MacDonald’s play in Howard’s stead was nothing short of outstanding and has helped the Wings break records for consecutive wins at home.

Conklin’s numbers this year are dismal. He went 3-5-0 this season with a 3.40 goals against and a .878 save percentage. Those are bad numbers at any level of play, but they get you beat down in the NHL. Should Conklin clear waivers he’ll be headed to Grand Rapids in the AHL where he’ll try to get his groove back.

MacDonald to start for Detroit on Sunday; Goalie decision on Monday

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The Red Wings are going to keep riding the hot hand.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock says that he’s starting Joey MacDonald for tomorrow afternoon’s game against San Jose as the Wings will look to win their 23rd straight game at home. Jimmy Howard was going to get the call to play after getting over his broken finger, but Babcock wants to stand by MacDonald while things are going well.

A bigger decision looms for the Red Wings after Sunday’s game as they’re going to have to send a goalie down with Howard back. Wings GM Ken Holland will either send MacDonald or Ty Conklin down to Grand Rapids and Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness says that Holland will save the decision for Monday.

With how well MacDonald has played of late and how poorly Conklin has played all season, you have to think that Conklin’s number is up in Detroit.