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Franzen, Backlund back for Red Wings-Flames game

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- A pair of players will mark their return to the lineup when the Calgary Flames host the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

Mikael Backlund will get back into action for the Flames, and Johan Franzen will suit up for the Red Wings. Each player missed the most-recent game for their respective teams, albeit for very different reasons.

Franzen skipped Detroit's 2-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. Feeling better, he'll return against the Flames.

"You never want to miss too many games," said Franzen, who has two goals and five points in 12 games. "The longer you're out the tougher it is to come back. I've only missed a few days here so hopefully I didn't lose my step or anything like that. It's good to be back."

He wasn't sure how the layoff would affect him Friday.

"Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad," he said. "I was feeling really good before sitting out that game. We'll see."

Though the Red Wings were victorious in his absence, goaltender Jimmy Howard knows what it means to have the 6-foot-3, 223-pound forward back on the ice.

"He's a big body for us," Howard said. "Mule [Franzen] has to play and use his body to get to the tough areas of the rink and get to the front of the net and score some ugly goals."

Backlund returns to the Flames lineup after being a healthy scratch in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Though Backlund wasn't happy with being sent to the press box, the 24-year-old said he understood coach Bob Hartley's message.

"Obviously I wasn't happy about it, I'm not going to lie, but things happen," Backlund said. "Me and Bob had a good talk Wednesday, [Thursday and Friday]. I'm excited to get back at it.

Backlund has two goals and four points in 11 games and has found himself pushed down Calgary's depth chart with the emergence of rookie Sean Monahan and Joe Colborne, who was acquired from the Maple Leafs in late September.

Hartley hoped the scratch could help jump-start Backlund in the offensive end.

"We went through what he needs to do in a better way and he's all aware of this," Hartley said. "[Backlund] is very fun to work with. He's a great young man and he's done lots of great things for us. I told him, 'I believe you focus way too much only on your defensive game.'"

Backlund admitted he has concentrated a little too hard on keeping pucks out of his net and too little on filling the one at the opposite end.

"There have been times where I've been hesitating and thinking defense-first," Backlund said. "I'm going to try to loosen up a little bit and just try to get back to being the player I used to be and be a little more creative out there and make more plays and still be solid defensively and work hard all over the ice and be responsible."

Here are the projected lineups for Detroit and Calgary:


Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi

Daniel Cleary - Johan Franzen - Daniel Alfredsson

Tomas Tatar - Stephen Weiss - Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller - Joakim Andersson - Patrick Eaves

Niklas Kronwall - Danny DeKeyser

Kyle Quincey - Brendan Smith

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson

Injured: Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder), Darren Helm (back), Jonas Gustavsson (upper body)


Curtis Glencross - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Sven Baertschi - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Mike Cammalleri - Joe Colborne - TJ Galiardi

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - Brian McGrattan

TJ Brodie - Chris Butler

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Derek Smith - Shane O'Brien

Joey MacDonald

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Tim Jackman

Injured: Lee Stempniak (lower body), Mark Giordano (lower body), Christopher Breen (upper body)

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