DETROIT -- Forward Pavel Datsyuk will make his season debut Friday when the Detroit Red Wings play the San Jose Sharks at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, FS-D).
Datsyuk, 37, has been recovering from surgery June 26 to repair ruptured tendons in his right ankle.
"Obviously, everyone in here is happy to have him back," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "He's been looking good in practice, so it's going to be fun having him in games."
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Datsyuk will play on a line with Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
Detroit is 25th in the NHL in goals (2.27 per game) and last in shots (25.3).
"I think the last three games we've been spending more time in the offensive end than the other team, so we're getting better," Zetterberg said. "But obviously having [Datsyuk] back, protecting the puck and holding onto the puck, will help us."
San Jose coach Pete DeBoer talked about Datsyuk's return.
"An early Christmas present for me, eh?" he said. "Great player. Changes their team, probably like we'll be when we get (Logan) Couture back. He slots guys down to where they should be … into a mismatch situation.”
Sharks forward Patrick Marleau has faced Datsyuk many times.
"Obviously, one of the best players in the world," Marleau said. "You have to play him tough and you have to play him hard."
The Sharks are 3-8-0 in their past 11 games.
"We're real close (to the way he would like them to play)," DeBoer said. "It's getting better in the last few games. I like our game. I like the progress of the team."
These are the projected lineups:
Joonas Donskoi - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Tomas Hertl - Joel Ward
Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels
Matthew Nieto - Micheal Haley - Mike Brown
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon - Matt Tennyson
Injured: Logan Couture (broken leg)
Scratched: Nikolay Goldobin, Ben Smith, Mirco Mueller
Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk
Tomas Tatar - Dylan Larkin - Gustav Nyquist
Riley Sheahan - Andreas Athanasiou - Teemu Pulkkinen
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Darren Helm
Niklas Kronwall - Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser - Jonathan Ericsson
Jakub Kindl - Alexey Marchenko
Injured: Johan Franzen (concussion), Brad Richards (back), Kyle Quincey (ankle), Landon Ferraro (knee)
Scratched: Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco, Brendan Smith
Status update: Marleau will probably play some center, according to DeBoer. … Datsyuk's return moves Sheahan from second-line center to third-line left wing.
Who's hot: Athanasiou scored his first NHL goal Tuesday in Detroit's 1-0 win against the Washington Capitals. … Ward had a goal and an assist Tuesday in a 4-2 loss against the New York Islanders.