DETROIT -- Initially, Danny Cleary was hoping he might be able to return to the ice for the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night against the visiting Dallas Stars.
The Wings have won 20 straight games at Joe Louis Arena, which has them tied with the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers for the longest home winning streak in NHL history.
Instead of playing, however, the 33-year old Cleary had another trip to the doctor on Tuesday morning to get additional fluid drained from his knee -- which had already been drained once last Friday to correct two Baker's cysts that were causing a great deal of discomfort.
Cleary said he might be able to return to the ice for practice as quickly as Wednesday and could return to action in games on Friday at home against the Nashville Predators
"I'm feeling a lot better," Cleary said on Tuesday morning, prior to having his knee drained. "It's amazing how quickly it turns. The message today is it's a lot better, so we'll see. If I skate [Wednesday], maybe [return Friday], but we'll see. That's my goal. I just had another pocket [of fluid] built up, but it feels better."
Meanwhile, Detroit forward Johan Franzen was back on the ice for a sparsely attended optional morning skate after missing practice Monday with what's believed to be a sore ankle. Franzen got hit in the ankle by a shot Sunday in a 4-3 win against the Flyers and also scored the game-winning goal to pull the Wings even with the other two teams in the League's record book.
"Felt good," Franzen said, when asked how things went for Tuesday's on-ice session. "[We] had to do a little work on the skate, as well, so I tried it out and it felt good."
Prior to the game Sunday, a teammate played a practical joke on Franzen while he was out on the ice for the morning skate -- placing a wall of red and white tape across the opening of his locker stall in the Wings' locker room.
Franzen had to hang his pads on the outside of the tape until an equipment manager removed all the tape prior to the game. On Tuesday, there was one single strand of tape stripped across the top of Franzen's stall -- seemingly as a reminder of the stunt.
"I think it's over with," Franzen said of the tape joke, before looking up to see the one strand still there. "Well … almost."
As for trying to become the only team in League history to win more than 20 straight home games in one season, the 6-foot-3, 223-pound Swedish power forward said he's already getting excited for the atmosphere inside Joe Louis Arena.
Prior to the 20th win, somebody hurled an octopus on the ice before the game -- a tradition usually saved for the postseason by Red Wings fans.
"It's going to be special, for sure," Franzen said of Tuesday night's game. "I think the fans are going to be into it, as well. We're really going to try to win this one."
Here is how the lineups might look like for the Stars and Red Wings:
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Tomas Vincour
Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish
Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen
Notes: Jake Dowell re-enters the lineup in place of Toby Petersen at left wing on the fourth line, while defenseman Sheldon Souray will also miss another game with a bone bruise in his foot that’s giving him problems.
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader
Jan Mursak - Cory Emmerton - Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl
Notes: The Red Wings will go with their same lineup as they used in the past two games against the Flyers and Anaheim Ducks. Cleary is out, is starting goalie Jimmy Howard (broken finger), who continues to face shots in practice and try to get himself back up to speed enough to start.