TORONTO – The Detroit Red Wings will get one of their many injured players back when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night in a preview of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
Defenseman Danny DeKeyser will be back in the lineup after missing the past 15 games with a separated shoulder.
"I'm really excited about it," DeKeyser said. "There's a good history here between Detroit and Toronto, two pretty storied franchises. It's going to be fun. It's Saturday night so it's going to be a great atmosphere and should be a great game."
The Red Wings have had more success on the road this season, going 10-3-3 away from Joe Louis Arena compared to a 6-9-6 record on home ice.
"We haven't been as good a team since we lost our people," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I'm not trying to make excuses at all for that, but we just haven't been as good of a team. So I think that affects it for sure. Then I also think that when things don't go good for you and you're a little tentative, as much as your crowd's trying to help you, instead of being a bunch of solid veterans who don't worry about that stuff, when you got kids you tighten up a little bit and I think that affects you."
Goalie Jonas Gustavsson will start start for the Red Wings against his former team. He played his first three seasons in the NHL with the Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs held an optional skate and will not have any lineup changes from a 2-1 shootout win Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes. Jonathan Bernier was the only goalie on the ice during the morning skate meaning James Reimer is expected to start.
"I think if you're good in your own end somehow it transfers over to the other team's zone," Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson said. "I thought last game, as a team, we were very good in our own end and [Reimer] gives us an opportunity there to get the win."
The Red Wings and Maple Leafs are facing each other for the first time this season. The teams haven't been divisional rivals since 1997-98 but are now together in the Atlantic.
"I think [the rivalry] is coming back," Clarkson said. "With them coming back and playing each other more and especially with the [Winter Classic] coming up, I think that rivalry is there and it'll continue to grow and grow over the next couple years."
Here are the projected lineups:
Injured: Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), Johan Franzen (concussion), Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc), Jimmy Howard (sprained MCL), Justin Abdelkader (head), Darren Helm (shoulder), Gustav Nyquist (groin)