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Ericsson back for Red Wings, Green out for Capitals

by Brian Hedger

DETROIT -- Jonathan Ericsson isn't cherry-picking his return to the Detroit Red Wings starting lineup.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defenseman will make his return to Detroit's top defense pairing Friday night at Joe Louis Arena against the high-powered Washington Capitals, who are led by superstar Alex Ovechkin (14 goals, seven assists).

After missing 10 games with a shoulder subluxation, Ericsson is ready to get back on the ice with defense partner Niklas Kronwall.

"We'll keep him under 30 minutes and obviously he's a real good defender for us and can pass the puck [and has] huge size," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said following Detroit's optional morning skate. "It gives us one more high-end guy to get the puck going and be a better team. The forwards need the puck and he can do that plus play against real good players."

The Red Wings are in the midst of a winless stretch on home ice that's reached six games (0-1-5). They are also 0-1-3 in their past four games, with two overtime losses and a shootout loss during the past three contests.

Meanwhile, the Capitals are 5-1-1 in their past seven games and won their most recent game Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime at Verizon Center.

In that game, top defenseman Mike Green sustained a lower-body injury that will keep him from playing against the Red Wings. Washington coach Adam Oates said the ailment is a bruise that's keeping Green from full mobility.

Green tested it out during the Capitals skate for a brief time.

"I think it was stiffer than he anticipated," Oates said. "He's got a contusion there, lower-body, and it just doesn't feel good enough to go."

Oates said Green could be ready to return for Washington's game Sunday against the St. Louis Blues. Entering the lineup in his place against Detroit is 29-year old Tyson Stachan, who was recalled from Hersey of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Strachan had four assists and 22 penalty minutes in 11 games with Hersey.

"I just talked to him and I said, 'Just play, man … don't worry about it,'" Oates said. "[I said], 'Things happen. You make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. You don't get evaluated on one game. That's not fair. We don't believe in that. Just do your job and do your best.'"

Strachan has 120 games of NHL experience, all in the past five seasons. The Saskatchewan native played a regular role for the Florida Panthers last season and will shift next to Nate Schmidt.

"It's obviously tough coming up, at times just to jump in, but I've been here before and that's all I can think of," Strachan said. "Schmidt's a guy that I've played with [before]. I spent some time with him in camp and then played with him down in Hersey, so we're pretty familiar with each other."

Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Red Wings on Friday night:


Martin Erat - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin

Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Mikhail Grabovski - Joel Ward

Aaron Volpatti - Michael Latta - Tom Wilson

Nate Schmidt - Tyson Strachan

Karl Alzner - John Carlson

Alexander Urbom - Steve Oleksy

Braden Holtby

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Jay Beagle

Injured: John Erskine (upper body), Jack Hillen (fractured tibia), Mike Green (lower body)


Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi

Tomas Tatar - Johan Franzen - Daniel Alfredsson

Daniel Cleary - Darren Helm - Mikael Samuelsson

Drew Miller - Joakim Andersson - Justin Abdelkader

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Injured: Brendan Smith (shoulder), Stephen Weiss (groin)

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