By Dan Wood
Ducks Radio Analyst
DETROIT – The Ducks will be without red-hot winger Joffrey Lupul when they take on the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
Lupul, who has scored four times during a three-game goal streak since returning from a seven-game absence caused by back spasms, will be sidelined this time because of problems with a leg.
“I think there is some correlation,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said after the club’s morning skate. “I think there is some complication from an injection he had. The leg is going numb on him.”
Lupul did not skate either in the team’s late-afternoon practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena or this morning, but showed enough progress that he remains a possibility for Saturday night’s game at Columbus, Carlyle said.
In the meantime, the Ducks expect veteran winger Kyle Calder to return against Detroit after having missed the past six games because of an eye injury suffered during practice Nov. 28. Calder plans to wear a visor temporarily in order to protect the eye.
A former Red Wing who played the past two seasons with the Kings, Calder has one assist in six games since joining the Ducks in mid-November. The Ducks are 4-2 with Calder, who could take Lupul’s place on the top line alongside center Ryan Getzlaf
and right wing Corey Perry
The Ducks also hope to continue receiving a boost from a youthful contingent that includes wingers Dan Sexton
and Matt Beleskey
, as well as defenseman Brett Festerling. All three have been summoned from the minor leagues since Thanksgiving.
“The most encouraging part of this whole thing is that it’s our young players who have come in and given us a spark,” Carlyle said.
Sexton scored his first two NHL goals and registered a club rookie-record nine shots on goal in Tuesday’s 4-3, overtime victory over visiting Dallas. Festerling, meanwhile, notched a game-high seven hits, and Beleskey provided plenty of energy along with three hits of his own.
“I played in the minor leagues for two years,” veteran defenseman Nick Boynton said. “You never want to go back. It’s a young guys’ game.
“Unfortunately, we’ve lost some tough games, but those guys weren’t here, so they don’t know any better.”