DETROIT - The Red Wings are likely to see more than one familiar face return to the lineup Friday.
Daniel Alfredsson, who missed Wednesday’s game against Boston due to a lower back injury, is expected to play when Detroit hosts Buffalo.
Coach Mike Babcock said the forward’s status will be a game-time decision.
“He skated this morning,” Babcock said. “He’ll come back this afternoon and we’ll see how he is.”
Before Friday’s morning skate, Alfredsson hadn’t skated since Detroit’s 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay Sunday. The forward’s back injury is the same issue that kept him out for six games dating from Jan. 11 – Jan. 20.
If he plays against Buffalo, Alfredsson will return to the lineup alongside center Pavel Datsyuk, who has missed the past 16 games with a knee injury.
“He’s a world class player, I expect him to play good,” Babcock said of Datsyuk, who will skate on a line with Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. “We’ll see how he plays and we’ll play him accordingly. We have him on the power play. We have him on a line. We’ll play the game and watch and see what happens.”
The addition of the two veterans is likely to give a young and confident Detroit team an extra boost with just six games remaining in the regular season.
“We're feeling good about ourselves,” said center Joakim Andersson. “We're in a good spot in the standings. We've got to make sure to win some more games to keep the position we have. Once we know we've got into the playoffs then we will really feel good about ourselves.”
Despite their growing confidence, Andersson knows the Wings can’t afford to overlook any other teams at this point in the season. That is especially true against the Sabres, who enter The Joe a dangerous opponent despite their 21-46-9 record.
“Those teams are hard to play,” Andersson said. “They know they've been out of a playoff spot for a long time, so they have some young guys who are trying out. They work hard and they are hard to play against. It's the same as Edmonton as those teams.”
Follow Andrea Nelson on Twitter @Nelson_Andrea