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Red Wings' Abdelkader expected to play

by Brian Hedger

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings are expected to get forward Justin Abdelkader back from a leg laceration Sunday at Joe Louis Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Abdelkader, who was injured during a 4-1 loss March 16 at the Chicago Blackhawks, has missed seven games. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he'll watch pregame warm-ups before he settles on a starting lineup.

Ansar Khan, of, and Chuck Pleiness, of the Macomb (Mich.) Daily, each reported Sunday morning that Detroit general manager Ken Holland said Abdelkader would play against the Lightning. Holland also told them center Darren Helm, who had a hat trick against Toronto, was fine after being run into the boards in the third period of that game.

"He can skate and knows how to play," Babcock said of Abdelkader. "He's physical, he's heavy, and he brings enthusiasm and brings it every day. Anybody who's been injured, though, and they come back ... especially guys like Abby, who haven't been able to skate, it's always tough on them. Three or four games is usually when they get their game back."

Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson will start for Detroit and goalie Ben Bishop is likely to start for the Lightning.

Tampa Bay also played Saturday night, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in overtime on the second goal of the game by Steven Stamkos. Center Valtteri Filppula, who broke into the NHL with the Red Wings, extended his point streak to 11 straight games with an assist against Buffalo.

Here is how the Lightning and Red Wings might line up Sunday:


J.T. Brown -- Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell

Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Ryan Callahan

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson - B.J. Crombeen

Victor Hedman - Sami Salo

Matt Carle - Radko Gudas

Eric Brewer - Michael Kostka

Ben Bishop

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Keith Aulie, Mark Barberio, Tom Pyatt, Cody Kunyk, Richard Panik

Injured: Brian Lee


Johan Franzen - David Legwand - Gustav Nyquist

Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco

Justin Abdelkader - Darren Helm - Daniel Alfredsson

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson

Niklas KronwallBrendan Smith

Kyle QuinceyDanny DeKeyser

Jakub KindlBrian Lashoff

Jonas Gustavsson

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Todd Bertuzzi

Injured: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson

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