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Confirmed: Kronwall in for Game 1

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Following Wednesday’s morning skate, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock announced that defenseman Niklas Kronwall will return to the lineup for Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal against Phoenix.

Kronwall suffered an upper body injury last month and missed the last five games of the regular-season. Still, he was positive about being able to immediately contribute.

“I had no problems with the skate this morning,” Kronwall said. “I feel great, and I’m very excited.”

Tuesday was the first time that Kronwall participated in practice with his teammates since the injury. The 30-year-old Swede hasn’t seen game action since the Wings hosted the St. Louis Blues on March 30.

Kronwall led the Wings in blocked shots this season (129), his second time leading the team in that category. He was second behind only captain Nicklas Lidstrom for goals scored by a defenseman (11), and third on the Wings’ defense for total points (37).  Kronwall averaged almost 23 minutes per game in the regular-season.

Defenseman Jakub Kindl will be scratched to make room for Kronwall.
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