CHICAGO -- Cory Emmerton will be back in the Detroit Red Wings lineup centering the fourth line when they face off against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night at United Center in the first game of their Western Conference Semifinal series.
Emmerton was scratched for Game 7 of Detroit's Western Conference Quarterfinal against the Anaheim Ducks and was replaced by veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson, who has been plagued by injuries all season.
Samuelsson, who missed 41 games with a pair of injuries, hopes to play in this series but had another recent flare-up of an upper-body ailment that initially occurred in a 7-1 loss to Chicago on March 31 at Joe Louis Arena. He played 4:20 in the series-deciding game against the Ducks before apparently reaggravating the injury.
Emmerton said he got the message loud and clear from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock's decision.
"You don't want to watch ever. I got to watch and it wasn't a lot of fun," he said following Detroit's Wednesday morning skate. "I'll do my best to not get in that situation again. Everything's a learning lesson as you go along in your career. You do what you can do, move forward and keep getting better."
Babcock said he'd like to see Emmerton's will to win individual battles reach a higher and more consistent level.
"You have to look at the guy across from you, you have to fight for your piece of the ice and you have to do it on every shift," he said. "If you do that you get to stay in the lineup each and every night and never ever have to worry on off days. Just relax on off days because you know you're in."
It also appears that forward Pavel Datsyuk and captain Henrik Zetterberg will again be split up on the top two lines. Datsyuk will center the top line and Zetterberg will man the middle of the second line, shifting Valtteri Filppula from center to left wing.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard, who has been battling some hamstring soreness, will get the start for Detroit.
Here is how the Red Wings could line up Wednesday against the Blackhawks: