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At the Rink: Red Wings at Sabres

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- The Detroit Red Wings will be without starting goalie Jimmy Howard for 2-4 weeks because of a slight groin tear, according to the Associated Press.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on Tuesday said Howard was week-to-week with his injury, according to the AP. Howard will not play in the All-Star Game.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told that an ultrasound revealed Howard's injury.

Howard was injured during a 3-1 loss Saturday to the Washington Capitals when he stretched across the crease in an attempt to stop a Troy Brouwer wraparound goal.

With Howard out, Petr Mrazek will start in goal Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. Tom McCollum was recalled Sunday from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to be the backup.

Howard is the second Detroit goalie out with an injury; Jonas Gustavsson is on injured reserve with a separated shoulder.

The Sabres will be without Chris Stewart against Detroit. Stewart has been battling the flu, and even though he skated Tuesday he will not play. Matt Ellis was recalled from Rochester of the AHL to take his spot in the lineup.

"He [Stewart] was feeling very weak and still lightheaded this morning so he wanted to try it on the ice but we'll see how he responded," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "Right now it doesn’t look very good."

Ellis joins Zac Dalpe in playing their first games with the Sabres this season. Dalpe and Philip Varone were recalled from Rochester on Monday. Torrey Mitchell will be back in after he missed 12 games with a lower-body injury. He was injured after he was struck by a slap shot from Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson on Dec. 15.

Michal Neuvirth will start in goal; he's coming off a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 9 in which he made 45 saves, including 27 in the second period.

The goalie matchup of Neuvirth against Mrazek, both from the Czech Republic, comes on the same night the Sabres will retire Dominik Hasek's No. 39. Hasek won the gold medal for the Czechs at the 1998 Nagano Olympics; he spent nine seasons with the Sabres, winning the Hart Trophy twice and the Vezina Trophy six times.

Here are the projected lineups:


Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Gustav Nyquist

Stephen Weiss - Darren Helm - Teemu Pulkkinen

Drew Miller - Joakim Andersson - Luke Glendening

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brendan Smith - Xavier Ouellet

Petr Mrazek

Tom McCollum

Scratched: Daniel Cleary, Brian Lashoff

Injured: Tomas Jurco (back), Johan Franzen (upper body), Jakub Kindl (elbow), Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder), Jimmy Howard (groin)


Matt Moulson - Zemgus Girgensons - Tyler Ennis

Brian Flynn - Torrey Mitchell - Drew Stafford

Nicolas Deslauriers - Philip Varone - Cody Hodgson

Matt Ellis - Zac Dalpe - Patrick Kaleta

Tyler Myers - Josh Gorges

Andre Benoit - Rasmus Ristolainen

Andrej Meszaros - Mike Weber

Michal Neuvirth

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Nikita Zadorov, Tyson Strachan

Injured: Chris Stewart (flu), Brian Gionta (head), Marcus Foligno (hand), Cody McCormick (blood clot)

Status Report: Gionta skated again Tuesday and is hoping to return to the lineup later in the week. He’s been out since he took a hit from Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski on Dec. 21.

Who's Hot: Zetterberg has five goals and five assists in the past 10 games.

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