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Red Wings move Samuelsson up to top line

by Corey Masisak

DETROIT -- Mikael Samuelsson returned to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of this Western Conference Quarterfinals series, and it didn't take him long to earn a promotion.

With Justin Abdelkader suspended for two contests, Samuelsson will start Game 4 next to Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on Detroit's top line Monday night against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena.

"It is a good opportunity. I'm excited about it," Samuelsson said. "I don't know what makes it easier or harder. Let's see tonight. I've been here before and I've played with good players. I know what they're capable of and I'll try to find some open spots."

Samuelsson played in only four games during the regular season because of three different injuries. He hadn't played since March 31 before joining the lineup in Game 3, and had only played twice since Jan. 21.

Game 4 will be Samuelsson's 100th career Stanley Cup Playoffs contest, including 45 in back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009 with the Red Wings.

Another veteran, Todd Bertuzzi, will replace Abdelkader on the lineup sheet and replace Samuelsson on the fourth line. Coach Mike Babcock said putting Bertuzzi, who played in Game 2 but has been a health scratch in Games 1 and 3, back in will give him two options to play with Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

"I'm going to watch the game and see what happens," Babcock said. "Obviously after watching the last game, we never got to the net, we didn't shoot the puck, we weren't on the inside, we weren't heavy enough. All of those things are a challenge for everybody on our team -- not just Samuelsson."

Abdelkader was suspended for a hit on Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman, who did not skate Monday morning. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Lydman "will probably miss more than two games" one day after saying the veteran defenseman was dealing with headaches, a stiff neck and issues with bright lights.

Here are the projected lineups for Game 4:


Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Nick Bonino - Teemu Selanne

Daniel Winnik - Saku Koivu - Andrew Cogliano

Kyle Palmieri - David Steckel - Emerson Etem

Sheldon Souray - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy

Bryan Allen - Luca Sbisa

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Brad Staubitz, Radek Dvorak, Sami Vatanen, Patrick Maroon, Devante Smith-Pelly, Matthew Lombardi

Injured: Toni Lydman (head/neck)


Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Mikael Samuelsson

Valtteri Filppula - Johan Franzen - Daniel Cleary

Gustav Nyquist - Joakim Andersson - Damien Brunner

Patrick Eaves - Cory Emmerton - Todd Bertuzzi

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Brendan Smith

Jakub Kindl - Brian Lashoff

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Justin Abdelkader (suspended), Jordin Tootoo, Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo

Injured: Darren Helm (back), Drew Miller (hand), Danny DeKeyser (thumb)

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