(Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)
Forward Pavel Datsyuk will be in the Red Wings' lineup for the first time since Feb. 27. He missed 16 games with a left-knee injury; Detroit was 8-6-2 without him.
"It's been long time [not playing]. I forget I'm a hockey player," Datsyuk told the team website Thursday. "[It's] exciting to come back."
Datsyuk is likely to play wing on a line with two players who recently returned from injury: Darren Helm (concussion) and Justin Abdelkader (finger).
"I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about the lines in practice today," coach Mike Babcock said. "I've still got 24 hours to decide what I'm doing. I think [Pavel] will probably start on the wing, to be honest with you, because that's what he normally likes to do when he comes back. I'll talk to him tomorrow morning and kind of get a read on where we're at."
Forward David Legwand was moved back to a line with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist.
Detroit, coming off a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, its third in a row, holds the first Eastern Conference wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tonight, they'll go for their fourth straight win against the Sabres.
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You can watch tonight's 7:30 PM matchup on Fox Sports Detroit-Plus, or listen in with Ken Kal and Paul Woods on AM1270.