RED WINGS (23-18-11) at FLYERS (25-22-6)
TV: FS-D, CSN-PH
Last 10: Detroit 5-4-1; Philadelphia 3-5-2
Season series: It's the third and final regular-season game between the teams. The Detroit Red Wings won their first meeting 5-2 in Detroit on Oct. 12, and the Philadelphia Flyers won 6-3 in Detroit on Dec. 4.
Big story: The Stanley Cup Playoffs don't start for about 11 weeks, but the way teams are so tightly bunched in the Eastern Conference, each game seems like it has serious postseason implications and the game Tuesday between the Red Wings and Flyers is no different. The Red Wings enter one point ahead of the Flyers in the race for the final wild-card spot in the East.
Helping the Red Wings in their cause is the likely return from injury of goaltender Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings on Monday sent goaltender Petr Mrazek to the American Hockey League, paving the way for Howard to be activated from injured reserve with a knee injury.
The Flyers went through a grueling practice Sunday but it didn't include forward Scott Hartnell. However, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday that a CT scan on Hartnell's left foot showed no broken bones and he expects Hartnell to be in the lineup Tuesday. Hartnell injured his foot blocking a shot Jan. 14 against the Buffalo Sabres.
Red Wings: The Red Wings will go into another game without their top two scorers, as forwards Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) didn't make the trip to Philadelphia. It will be the fifth time this season two of the team's top forwards have been out of the lineup at the same time; they're 1-2-1 in those games.
Datsyuk hasn't played since Jan. 1, while Zetterberg has been in and out of the lineup with a back injury, and the issue flared up again Sunday, keeping him out of the team's game against the Florida Panthers.
Stepping into the scoring breech recently has been forward Gustav Nyquist. The 24-year-old has a goal in four straight games and at least a point in five in a row. And on Monday he was named the League's Second Star of the Week.
Flyers: The Flyers have one game prior to a rough three-game trip that will see them face the three California teams in a five-day span. With two wins in nine games (2-5-2) heading into Tuesday, they hope to have some confidence packed with them for their trip west.
That lack of confidence has manifested itself at the start of games. The Flyers have allowed the game's first goal in eight of their past nine games, and have been outscored 13-3 in the opening 20 minutes of those nine games.
"The key to getting out of this is to have a good start the next game," forward Wayne Simmonds told CSNPhilly.com. "We haven't been playing well as of late in all aspects of the game, offensively and especially defensively.
"We have to get a solid start to the next game. The practice [Sunday] helped. We went over systems more. Sometimes you don't get a lot of practice time; it kind of slips, which it shouldn't. We have to do a better job. That [lack of practice] is not the whole reason, but obviously guys have been saying we have to be more mentally prepared and ready. As individuals, come into the game and do our jobs, and we haven't been."
Who's hot: Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan has goals in consecutive games, the second and third of his young career. … Flyers captain Claude Giroux has four goals and six assists in his past 12 games.
Injury report: Besides Zetterberg and Datsyuk, the Red Wings are missing forwards Johan Franzen (concussion), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) and Cory Emmerton (finger). … Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo (ankle) is questionable.