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Red Wings' Abdelkader out for Game 1 vs. Lightning

by Corey Long

TAMPA -- Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader will not play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-D, FS-F).

Abdelkader injured his hand April 4 against the Minnesota Wild and missed the final four regular-season games. He has practiced this week in preparation for the best-of-7 series but was not cleared to play.

He has five goals and five assists in 54 career Stanley Cup Playoff games. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said in Abdelkader's absence Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will play on the same line.

Zetterberg said that he expects other players to continue to step up and take advantage of the opportunities.

"It's the playoffs and everyone should be excited to have this opportunity," he said. "You don't realize how awesome this is until you play. We watched some of the games [Wednesday] at the hotel and got pumped up about our game."

Detroit went 1-2-1 against Tampa Bay in the regular season but won 4-0 in their final game of the season, March 28 in Detroit.

Zetterberg said he and his teammates are focused on keeping the Tampa Bay's talented group of forwards contained.

"They are a tough group and the Tyler Johnson line is particularly dangerous," Zetterberg said. "Johnson is a good faceoff guy, good defensively and offensively … you have to play good against them."

Petr Mrazek will be getting his first playoff start in goal. He went 16-9-2 during the regular season. Mrazek led the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League to the Calder Cup in 2013.

"I think [Mrazek] has been good for us this season and he's the right guy to start the series for us," Babcock said. "We have a lot of confidence in him and he's got confidence in himself. He's won some big games in the past."

Here are the projected lineups:


Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Henrik Zetterberg

Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Stephen Weiss - Joakim Andersson - Tomas Jurco

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Landon Ferraro

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Danny DeKeyser - Alexey Marchenko

Kyle Quincey - Marek Zidlicky

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl

Injured: Erik Cole (spinal contusion), Justin Abdelkader (hand)


Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan

Nikita Kucherov - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - Vladislav Namestnikov

Brenden Morrow - Brian Boyle - J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr

Matthew Carle - Braydon Coburn

Anton Stralman - Nikita Nesterov

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Jonathan Drouin

Injured: Jason Garrison (upper body)

Status Report: The Red Wings had 15 players participate in their optional morning skate Thursday. … Abdelkader was a participant in the morning skate.

Who's Hot: Mrazek had 35 saves in a 2-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday. … Datsyuk finished the regular season with two goals and three assists in the final three games.

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