The Detroit Red Wings will get a key player back into their lineup Sunday for their game against the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena when forward Johan Franzen is activated after missing the past 16 games with a concussion.
Franzen has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 30 games.
"He can really shoot the puck," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told MLive.com. "Any time you come back from an injury, I don’t know how you’re going to respond. I mean, [Darren] Helmer's an example of that. I don’t know what to expect from the Mule. We’re just going to play him and see how it goes."
At practice Saturday, Franzen skated with Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson in place of Daniel Cleary, who has one goal, one assist and a minus-2 rating in his past 10 games.
"[It] was a good practice," Franzen told reporters. "Usually when you're an extra guy out there you’re standing on the side watching when guys are going in their units. You definitely get a better skate going with your group than standing on the side watching the other guys go."
Although Franzen is back, Detroit will be without their captain, forward Henrik Zetterberg, who will sit as a precaution with an upper-body injury.
Although the Red Wings are 9-11-7 at Joe Louis Arena this season, they're 3-1-1 this month on home ice after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Friday. Detroit also earned a win against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Motor City on Wednesday.
"The two big wins were huge," center Riley Sheahan said. "I know the guys are going to get fired up off of [them] and just try to keep it going."
Veteran Mikael Samuelsson cleared waivers Sunday and was assigned to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.
The Panthers take a 3-1-1 road stretch into Joe Louis Arena. Rookie Aleksander Barkov has a team-leading 24 points but could miss his second straight game with a knee injury. Florida activated defenseman Dylan Olsen from injured reserve. Right wing Tomas Kopecky (upper body) was placed on IR but can come off Tuesday.
Here are the projected lineups for the Panthers and Red Wings:
Sean Bergenheim - Scott Gomez - Brad Boyes
Tomas Fleischmann - Nick Bjugstad - Scottie Upshall
Jonathan Huberdeau - Marcel Goc - Jesse Winchester
Krys Barch - Drew Shore - Shawn Matthias
Brian Campbell - Tom Gilbert
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski – Dylan Olsen
Scratched: Jimmy Hayes, Erik Gudbranson
Injured: Tomas Kopecky (upper body), Aleksander Barkov (knee), Mike Mottau (lower body), Alex Petrovic (upper body)
Daniel Cleary - Gustav Nyquist - Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco
Johan Franzen - Darren Helm - Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Patrick Eaves
Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff - Brendan Smith
Scratched: Todd Bertuzzi, Jakub Kindl
Injured: Henrik Zetterberg (upper body), Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Joakim Andersson (lower body), Stephen Weiss (hernia surgery), Jimmy Howard (knee)