DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings (9-8-2) hope that Teemu Pulkkinen will be able to get his shot off more when they play the Los Angeles Kings (12-6-0) on Friday at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., FS-W, FS-D+).
Pulkkinen a right wing with a strong shot, will be on a line with playmakers Pavel Datsyuk and Brad Richards.
"We'll see how it's going to go, but for sure it's a great opportunity to play with players like [Datsyuk and Richards]," Pulkkinen said. "When you play with [Datsyuk and Richards], both guys can really pass the puck and know how to make plays. Just be ready all the time and got to find the open spots for your shot."
Pulkkinen has five goals and eight points in 18 games. Detroit coach Jeff Blashill knows how Pulkkinen can shoot the puck after coaching him with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League the past two seasons. Pulkkinen led the AHL with 34 goals in 46 games last season.
"I believe he's a guy who can score on any goalie in the world with his shot because of how good a shot it is," Blashill said. "I think [Richards and Datsyuk] both can score, but they're both elite passers of the puck. We hope it's a good combination. We won't know until we get out there playing."
Richards is returning after missing 13 games because of a sore back. He last played Oct. 21, and has two assists in six games.
It will be Datsyuk's fifth game of the season after returning from offseason surgery on his right ankle. He has one assist in four games.
"Hopefully he's a game away [from breaking out]," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "That way we have a chance."
The Kings began a five-game road trip with a 3-2 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday.
"We're coming off a win in Philadelphia but there's a lot of things we can clean up," said defenseman Alec Martinez, who is from the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, Mich. "We can be better in our own end and better on the forecheck. And not give up so many chances."
Here are the projected lineups:
Tanner Pearson - Anze Kopitar - Marian Gaborik
Milan Lucic - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Dustin Brown - Nick Shore - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan
Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez
Derek Forbort - Jamie McBain
Injured: Dwight King (broken foot), Matt Greene (upper body)
Scratched: Jordan Weal, Christian Ehrhoff
Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin
Brad Richards - Pavel Datsyuk - Teemu Pulkkinen
Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Darren Helm
Niklas Kronwall - Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser - Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith - Alexey Marchenko
Injured: Johan Franzen (concussion), Kyle Quincey (ankle), Landon Ferraro (knee)
Scratched: Joakim Andersson, Jakub Kindl
Status update: Sutter did not reveal if Ehrhoff would be back in the lineup or be scratched, as he was Tuesday against Philadelphia. When asked, Ehrhoff said he didn't know. … Smith returns after missing five games because of an illness. He takes Kindl's spot.
Who's hot: Lucic has a goal in each of his past three games. ... Larkin has a goal in each of his past two games.