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Notes: Kronwall to miss Canadiens game as maintenance

Xavier Ouellet returns to lineup: Jimmy Howard to 7-day IR; Jared Coreau recalled;

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - Niklas Kronwall has not been practicing the day after games in order to help maintain his left knee.

With back-to-back games - on the road Friday in New Jersey and at home Saturday against Montreal - Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Kronwall will not play against the Canadiens.

"We're going to hold Nik Kronwall out tonight, just part of the maintenance program we have planned," Blashill said. "It was a pre-planned thing for us."

That means Xavier Ouellet will draw back into the lineup for the first time since Nov. 2 at Philadelphia.

"I think he's got the opportunity to jump in and he's done this already and played well," Blashill said. "That's what he's done when he's gone in in the past. He's going to have to do it again. The best way to do that is to make sure you're ultra-prepared by taking care of yourself on the ice and taking care of yourself off the ice. I believe he's done that so I think he's in a position to come in and play well."

Ouellet, 23, has one assist and is plus-2 in six games this season.

It will mark the first time that both Ouellet and Ryan Sproul are in the lineup together.

Veteran Mike Green, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime in New Jersey, played a game-high 27:25 Friday.

"We're going to play him a lot and we're going to expect him to be good," Blashill said.

HOWARD'S STATUS SAME: The status of goaltender Jimmy Howard, who left Friday night's game against the Devils at 11:31 of the first period with a lower-body injury, remains the same.

"Nothing different there right now, we'll see how the progress goes," Blashill said. "I haven't heard a report today. I just think with a goaltender and a groin it's usually a week at least."

The Wings placed Howard and defenseman Alexey Marchenko (upper-body) on seven-day injured reserve and recalled Jared Coreau from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.

Petr Mrazek, 24, will make his first start since Nov. 15 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Mrazek is 5-5-1 with a 3.18 goals-against average and .897 save percentage.

"I hope he's able to play great," Blashill said. "Petr's spent most of career what I'd call being a money goalie. He's risen to the opportunity and risen to the moment. We need him to rise to the moment today and he's got a good window of opportunity for him so come in and play great."

In five career games against the Canadiens, Mrazek is 2-1-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

Coreau, 25, is 8-5-0 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .923 save percentage with the Griffins.

The Griffins called up goaltender Cal Heeter from the Toledo Walleye.

JURCO RETURNS FROM GR: Tomas Jurco played in two games with the Griffins as a conditioning stint.

Jurco, who had offseason back surgery, had a goal in his first game back on Wednesday in Milwaukee and had an assist in Friday's comeback victory over the Lake Erie Monsters.

Blashill said Jurco was not available for the Montreal game but could be ready for Tuesday's game against Dallas.

"We're hoping," Blashill said. "We'll see come Monday if he's available starting Tuesday. So far he's progressed, but had a little bit of stiffness after last night's game, but that's kind of normal. If he gets cleared on Monday then he'll be available for Tuesday and at that point we'll ease him into the lineup.

"We're not going to throw him to the fire. It'll be a situation where he starts with fourth-line minutes and hopefully he can build up from there."

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