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Notes: Marchenko expected back on trip, others later

Mike Green could return after California trip but Abdelkader and Helm a ways away

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

TORONTO - It's been a slow process but the Wings are gradually going to see team health improving in the next few weeks.

But only one of the players currently out is expected to return during their trip to California.

General manager Ken Holland told that defenseman Alexey Marchenko, who has missed the last seven games with a shoulder injury, could play in Thursday night's game in Los Angeles against the Kings.

Mike Green (upper body) and Justin Abdelkader (knee) have both been skating with the team but neither is expected back during the trip.

Holland said Green is a possibility after the California trip and Abdelkader is a week to two and a half weeks away.

Darren Helm (shoulder) is about two weeks away, according to Holland.

Helm was originally injured Nov. 15 when Tampa Bay's Nikita Nesterov upended him.

Helm has missed the last 21 games.

Abdelkader has missed the last 15 games after hitting Florida's Vincent Trocheck on Dec. 1.

Green has missed the last five games after getting hit late in the game by Anaheim's Ryan Kesler. Green said it aggravated something that had been nagging him for a bit.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard has missed the last four games after suffering a knee injury Dec. 20 in Tampa. That injury had a 4-6 week timeframe.

CENTENNIAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS: If you thought the NHL had become more of a young players' game, the Centennial Classic proved you right.

Of the nine goals scored, seven came from players 22 or younger, including two from Auston Matthews (19 years old), two from Anthony Mantha (22), and one each from Dylan Larkin (20), Mitch Marner (19) and Connor Brown (22).

Mantha and Matthews tied the single-game outdoor record for goals.

But some players remain ageless, including Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who had three assists, tying the single-game outdoor record for assists and points.

Zetterberg also became the NHL's all-time leader in career assists/points in outdoor games with seven assists in four games.

Mantha and Brown tied Zetterberg for the single-game outdoor record for points.

Toronto's four goals and Detroit's three in the third period set a new record for combined goals in one period of an outdoor game.

TATAR'S 300TH: When Tomas Tatar skated in Sunday's Centennial Classic, it was his 300th career game.

Tatar had two assists, on Anthony Mantha's first goal and on Dylan Larkin's goal.

It's likely a game Tatar won't forget as the Wings rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the last 6:06 of the third period to tie the game and send it to overtime.

"We wanted to bounce back," Tatar said after the game. "We know know important are those points right now. We wanted to get back into the game. We are really happy we come back but it can't happen, when you're up 1-0 you can't let them score four goals."

ROAD WARRIORS: Despite the Wings' 5-4 overtime loss to Toronto in the Centennial Classic, the Wings have played better on the road than at home, 9-6-2 to 7-10-3.

The Wings will practice in Anaheim Tuesday before playing back-to-back games against the Ducks and Kings.

They then fly to San Jose, where they will face the Sharks Saturday night.

"Absolutely, they're big, heavy teams," Niklas Kronwall said after the game. "But for us right now it doesn't matter who we play. Every game is a big game, big two points on the line. We don't have time. It's about finding a way to get points, finding a way, that's what it's all about."

The Ducks are fourth in the Western Conference with 46 points in 39 games and are 11-4-2 at home.

The Kings are eighth in the West with 40 points in 37 games and are 11-4-1 at home.

The Sharks are third in the West with 47 points in 37 games and are 13-4-0 at home.

"It's not getting any easier," Steve Ott said after the game. "We've got the big wild west with Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose and then you've got to face Chicago and Dallas. So the rest of the way it's not going to be easy. For us, we need to continue to work on the things we're lacking, the things that we can get better at. For instance in that third period there were things that we need to tighten up. A couple of lucky bounces and it goes the other way and gives them a two on one. For the first 40, if we play like that, that's the team we need to be. We're figuring things out on the go here as well, and you're starting to see the emergence of some of the young guys as well, which is a pretty proud thing in here as well."

The power play continues to be a source of aggravation for the Wings, 30th in the league at 11.7 percent.

"Power play, if you get one or two, it's a different game," Kronwall said. "And I think that's going to be the biggest key moving forward, we have to get our power play clicking."

Kronwall said the team has to be singleminded in its focus with the man-advantage.

"We're playing around but we have to get the puck to the net, whether that's from up top or down low, it doesn't really matter," Kronwall said. "The puck's got to get there and we got to get people there and bang home some dirty ones."

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