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Notes: Green returns to lineup, Mantha expected back Tuesday

Helm, Nielsen remain day to day; Chara surpasses 1,500-game milestone

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- Some of the injured Wings are getting back in the mix.

Defenseman Mike Green, who has missed the last six games with an upper-body injury, returns to the lineup against the Boston Bruins.

Some of the others are apparently getting close as well.

"Darren (Helm)'s out today," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Day to day so we're hoping to have him back on Tuesday but I'll know more as we get to tomorrow."

Helm missed Friday's game in Columbus with an undisclosed injury.

Center Frans Nielsen, who has missed the last four games, has been skating with the team but is not quite ready to go.

"Day to day, same thing. We're not sure on Tuesday yet," Blashill said. "Anthony Mantha's day to day. I anticipate him for Tuesday."

Mantha, who remains the team's fifth-leading scorer with 24 points despite missing the last 19 games with broken ribs and a punctured lung, has definitely been missed.

CHOLOWSKI SENT TO GRIFFINS/LINDSTROM REMAINS: On Saturday, the Red Wings sent defenseman Dennis Cholowski back to the Grand Rapids Griffins, their AHL affiliate.

That was because Green is ready to return and because Cholowski still has things to work on.

"One, I didn't have him in the lineup so if he's not in the lineup here, he should go down and play," Blashill said. "I think that's the most important thing. We made a decision to go with six other guys so at that point, go down and play. What does he need to do? Continue to grow his game. We've talked lots about the D areas, increase his assertiveness both with the puck and without the puck. That doesn't mean that he didn't do some of that stuff when he was up but right now, we've got these other six and we feel it's best for his development to go down and play down there."

That means that rookie Gustav Lindstrom will remain with the team for now.

"First off, I'd say it's two games. I'm always cautious in those situations, not to get too excited one way or the other," Blashill said. "I would say not necessarily surprised based on the reports I was getting. What Gus does well, if he's playing his best, is he defends, he's super competitive and he moves the puck and if you do those three things, you're going to play a long time in the National Hockey League. He's also smart, those four things, I should say.

"He makes a lot of good decisions when he's out there. We kind of had kid gloves with him the first game in Buffalo and then because of the early injury to (Madison) Bowey last game, he got forced into a lot of minutes and I thought he handled those minutes well. If he continues to handle those minutes real well, he'll move himself up those spots in the lineup and get more and more minutes."

Lindstrom played 12:07 in Buffalo in his NHL debut, then jumped to 20:26 the following night in Columbus after Bowey went down early in the first.

MIRACULOUS CHARA: In Boston, they've had their own Z for a long, long time.

The Bruins just celebrated defenseman Zdeno Chara for achieving the 1,500-game milestone. He became the 21st player and just the sixth defenseman in league history to reach that number on Nov. 5 at Montreal.

"I was lucky enough to be here with Nick Lidstrom, another one of the great defensemen, Zdeno, one of the great defensemen of our era," Blashill said. "He's a hard guy to play against, even today because of his brain and his length. I like the evasive moves he had there yesterday where he cut and cut back and cut back again. It's not necessarily what's made him but he's a great, great player.

"I've got to know of him because of (assistant coach) Doug Houda, he's got a real good relationship with Doug Houda. Doug raves about him as a human being, he raves about him as a competitor, raves about him as a leader and a player. It's not a surprise with the success that group's had over there with the type of people they have."

Against the Wings, Chara will skate in his 1,540th game.

Chara is only the 12th player to play in four decades. Ray Bourque and Mark Recchi are the only other Bruins to accomplish that.

The Bruins, who have a six-game winning streak, will likely start goaltender Jaroslav Halak in the second game of the back-to-back set.

Halak is 14-6-6 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. In 17 career games against the Wings, he is 7-7-2 with a 3.62 goals-against average and .874 save percentage.

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