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Red Wings' Helm promoted; Lightning's Filppula returns

by Staff

As center Stephen Weiss rehabs a groin injury and wing Johan Franzen is out with an upper-body injury, Darren Helm has earned a unique opportunity with the Detroit Red Wings.

After a back injury limited him to one game since the 2011-12 season, Helm enjoyed a triumphant return to the Detroit lineup Nov. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers. The center scored his first goal since March 9, 2012 at 5:09 into the game and was credited with the game-winner in the 5-0 victory. Two nights later, he visited his hometown when the Red Wings lost on the road 4-2 against the Winnipeg Jets.

Helm played 7:46 against the Jets, but he should see a sizeable increase in his ice time with Weiss out of the lineup. In Detroit's morning skate Saturday, Helm centered the second line between Daniel Alfredsson and Tomas Tatar as the Red Wings prepare to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

"I think it's coming around," Helm said. "Each game I'm starting to fit in a little bit, get a little more comfortable with everything. I think I still got a little ways to go."

The game Saturday will be a homecoming of sorts for two prominent members of the Lightning. Former Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula returns to Detroit for the first time since signing during the summer with the Lightning. Filppula spent seven seasons with the Red Wings and won the Stanley Cup in 2008.

"I think he's a pretty calm guy, but inside there'll be extra butterflies," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Filppula. "Once the puck drops though, a game's a game."

Cooper can appreciate any nerves Filppula might feel. Cooper earned his law degree in Michigan and started his coaching career in the state. It was there he befriended Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

"He was kind of like a mentor for me. He was very helpful," Cooper said. "We've stayed in touch ever since. Tonight, for two-and-a-half hours, we won't be buddies."

Here is the projected lineup for the Lightning:

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis

Ryan Malone - Valtteri Filppula - Teddy Purcell

Brett Connolly - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

B.J. Crombeen - Nate Thompson - Richard Panik

Radko Gudas - Matthew Carle

Eric Brewer - Victor Hedman

Sami Salo - Mark Barberio

Ben Bishop

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Keith Aulie, Andrej Sustr

Injured: Brian Lee (knee), Tom Pyatt (upper body)

Here are is the projected lineup for the Red Wings, according to Ansar Khan of

Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi

Tomas Tatar - Darren Helm - Daniel Alfredsson

Drew Miller - Joakim Andersson - Justin Abdelkader

Daniel Cleary - Luke Glendening - Patrick Eaves

Niklas Kronwall - Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Kyle Quincey - Xavier Ouellet

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo

Injured: Jonathan Ericsson (upper body), Brendan Smith (shoulder), Stephen Weiss (groin), Johan Franzen (upper body)

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