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At the Rink: Blackhawks at Red Wings

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

DETROIT -- Pavel Datsyuk returns to the Detroit Red Wings lineup after missing the past two games with a sore groin.

Detroit (7-3-5) plays the Chicago Blackhawks (9-6-1) at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.

Datsyuk has five goals and five assists for 10 points in eight games after missing the first five games of the season with a separated shoulder.

"He was playing great when he left, and anytime you get leg injuries or groin injuries, to me, it's not like a shoulder if your legs are going and you come back," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "So we'll see what happens here tonight."

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews talked about Datsyuk's impact.

"The amount of depth they have at center when Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg are playing on different lines is unbelievable," Toews said. "Whoever is out there tonight for us, from the opening faceoff there's going to be no let up."

Toews is centering the top line with Patrick Kane on right wing. That generally happens when the Blackhawks are struggling to score goals.

"I think we're probably a deeper and more balanced team when they're apart," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Do we envision them being together all year long? No. But I know they like playing together."

Detroit is coming off of a four-day break.

"We definitely got to get going right away. We know that Chicago is a team that starts quick and they play hard," Red Wings forward Drew Miller said. "We can take a lot of positives from (the break). We got some guys that are a little beat up and could use some rest."

The Blackhawks played Tuesday.

The Original Six teams find themselves separated by the NHL's realignment.

Detroit, which is in the Eastern Conference, and Chicago (Western Conference) were division rivals (Norris and Central) for over 30 years and now find themselves in different conferences.

"Even though we're not in the same division anymore, the fans get up for the games and you know what to expect coming into this building," Toews said.

Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader acknowledged things are different.

"We're in the Eastern Conference, won't see those guys until the (Stanley Cup) Finals," he said. "I don't know if it's not as much a rival anymore. It'll always be a rival. Unfortunately we're not in the same division, conference, so we don't see those guys as much. I think with past history, two Original Six franchises, it's always considered a rivalry."

Abdelkader likes playing against the Blackhawks.

"Just the battles we've had with them, whether it's been playoff or regular season, they always seem to be really good games," he said. "Both teams have been competitive since I've been here and it's been real exciting to play these guys."

Quenneville said left wing Daniel Carcillo, who has missed nine games with a lower-body injury, should return Sunday when Chicago plays the Dallas Stars at the United Center.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLACKHAWKS

Kris Versteeg - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Brad Richards - Brandon Saad

Ben Smith - Marcus Kruger - Marian Hossa

Peter Regin - Andrew Shaw - Jeremy Morin

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Johnny Oduya

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: David Rundblad

Injured: Patrick Sharp (knee), Dan Carcillo (lower body).

RED WINGS

Gustav Nyquist - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen

Justin Abdelkader - Pavel Datsyuk - Tomas Jurco

Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Darren Helm

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson

Jonathan Ericsson - Niklas Kronwall

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brendan Smith - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Tom McCollum

Scratched: Daniel Cleary, Andrej Nestrasil, Brian Lashoff

Injured: Stephen Weiss (groin)

Status report: Oduya is back after leaving the game Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning after blocking a shot. Jurco comes back in after being a healthy scratch the past three games. He replaces Nestrasil in the lineup. McCollum was recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League after Petr Mrazek was sent down to play a couple of games. Detroit has been off since this past Sunday. Mrazek is scheduled to be recalled before the game Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Who's hot: Saad and Richards each have a goal and two assists in their last three games. … Kronwall has a goal and three assists in his last two games and Franzen two goals and three assists in his last four games.

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