NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Red Wings may have won the game Saturday afternoon, but they lost another valuable player to injury.
It’s not certain how long the Wings will be without top-six forward Darren Helm, who left the game against the Nashville Predators early with what the club said is an upper-body injury.
Helm has been enjoying a full healthy season for just the second time in his career.
The Red Wings’ forward was hit by Predators defensemen Shea Weber and Seth Jones on the same first-period shift. Weber got him near the blue line at 5:03, followed by Jones who got him behind Nashville’s net. Helm skated to the bench before heading to the locker room after logging just 2:41 on five shifts. He did not return to the game.
Helm is one of eight Wings who have played in all 61 games this season, scoring 13 goals with 16 assists. The others to appear in every game are Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Drew Miller, Tomas Tatar, Luke Glendening, Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall.
The Red Wings have been without Henrik Zetterberg for the past four games and defenseman Kyle Quincey. The captain has suffered from concussion-like symptoms since getting punched twice by Dallas forward Jamie Benn a week ago. Quincey has been bothered by bone chips in an ankle.
Both players skated on their own Saturday with hopes of returning to the Wings’ lineup against the New York Rangers Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
“Obviously losing Z and then Helmer today doesn’t help us, doesn’t make us deeper by any means,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “But we’ve got a good team, we’ve got good guys and they play hard and they play structured and we seem to compete. And when you compete you give yourself a chance. And the odd night that we don’t, we don’t leave the rink happy. We’re feeling good about ourselves right now and yet we know in this league it’s all about the one you’re playing, so we’ll have a couple of days off and we’ll be ready.”
Since March 2012, Helm has dealt with a serious of five different injuries – one that required emergency surgery during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs in Nashville – which forced him to miss a total of 115 regular-season and playoff games. He needed surgery for a cut on his right forearm suffered in Game 1 of the playoff opener against the Predators.
Helm will be re-evaluated Sunday in Detroit.
The Red Wings finished their six-game road trip with a 4-1-1 record after posting a 4-3 comeback victory Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.