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Notes: Mantha to miss 4-6 weeks; Bertuzzi out two games

Former Griffins goaltender Pasquale expected to make NHL debut for Lightning

by Dana Wakiji and Arthur J. Regner @Dwakiji and @ArthurJRegner / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- The Red Wings lost far more than a hockey game Sunday night.

After Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth crushed Dylan Larkin into the boards early in the third period, Anthony Mantha challenged Nemeth and fought him.

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said as a result of that fight, Mantha has a hand injury that requires surgery and will keep him out 4-6 weeks.

"He was sticking up for Larkin in that case, who got his head run against the boards," Blashill said. "I know this, he'd do it again. And I'm good with him doing it again. I want him to do it again. We want to make sure we're sticking up for each other. You're not going anywhere at any time if you got a team that's selfish and doesn't care about each other - no chance. The best chance for us to have great success here is for us to make sure that we're looking after each other at all times and sometimes, these types of things are going to happen.

"It's just like saying should you block shots. Of course you should block shots, that's the sacrifice it takes to win. Every once in a while, you're going to get a broken bone because of it. Should you take a hit to make a play? Of course you should take a hit to make a play. Otherwise you're never winning. Should you stick up for your teammates? Of course you should stick up for your teammates. Otherwise you're never winning. That's just the reality of it."

Of course, that means the Wings lose a player tied with Tyler Bertuzzi for third on the team with nine goals, a player who has eight goals and three assists since Oct. 30.

"It's a big loss," Larkin said. "He's been scoring, putting the puck in the net. Him and I feel like our chemistry's been clicking the past couple games. It's unfortunate right when you feel that and he's out of the lineup."

Since Mantha returned to Larkin's line at the end of October, he's made a big impact.

"He's been playing excellent," Blashill said. "He's certainly got the ability to score on one shot. Not tons of guys have that. I think he's done a real good job of becoming a more complete player. He's brought physicality, so you lose a real good player. Now, I think we have, if you look at our lines the other night, we had a real skilled guy on our fourth line, so we got a chance to move up a skilled guy. So I think we have plenty of skill on those top two lines and other guys got to step up in the absence, no different than what we've been doing all year. We've dealt with lots of injuries here all year so it's no different. We're going to have enough skill dressed tonight to win a hockey game. We got to compete like crazy tonight."

The player Blashill was referring to moving up from the fourth line is Thomas Vanek, who will skate with Frans Nielsen and Andreas Athanasiou.

During the morning skate, Gustav Nyquist moved up to Larkin's line with Justin Abdelkader, who had replaced Darren Helm, currently out with a shoulder injury.

"I started a little bit of the year there with Larkin, Mantha was also on that line then too, now we'll have Abby," Nyquist said. "I've played with Abby tons in the past. A few years ago, it was usually me, Abby and Hank (Zetterberg) that played, so we know each other well and I love playing with Abby. He's easy to play with, he loves to go to the net, which suits me to have a guy to go there to create some space for me, so I love playing with Abby."

Luke Glendening skated with Michael Rasmussen and Jacob de la Rose.

Christoffer Ehn and Martin Frk will also draw back into the lineup as the team has not called anyone up yet.

"We'll go 11 and seven tonight, we'll make decisions after tonight," Blashill said. "I think both those guys are ready to come in the lineup. We weren't not playing them because they're not ready or not good enough, we just went with the way we went."

BERTUZZI TO SIT FOR TWO GAMES: At 12:45 of the third period in Sunday's game against Colorado, Avalanche forward Matt Calvert became engaged with the Red Wings bench.

Calvert appeared to spear Bertuzzi, drawing the ire of several Wings, including Larkin and Rasmussen, but it was Bertuzzi's punch to Calvert's head that came under league scrutiny.

On Monday, Bertuzzi was called before the NHL's disciplinary tribunal, and after his 25-minute phone hearing, the league suspended the energetic forward for two games without pay for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct.

"It was pretty black and white, I think," Bertuzzi told reporters after Detroit's morning skate on Tuesday. "Obviously, it was quick to happen out there. It was stupid on my part but again, it happens fast, so I can learn from it and move on.

"The reason I reacted was more or less because I felt I got speared. It wasn't just to react to nothing."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Morning skate getting started as preparation begins for Tampa Bay. #TBLvsDET #LGRW pic.twitter.com/cdiRQn02TO

While Bertuzzi took full responsibility, he was a bit miffed because Calvert's spear has not been questioned.

"A little bit, but it is what it is," he said about being disappointed that the NHL didn't reprimand Calvert. "I'm the one that had the call. I'm the one that did the action to get suspended."   

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "Obviously, it was quick to happen out there. It was stupid on my part but again, it happens fast, so I can learn from it and move on."More from Bert: pic.twitter.com/VYz5gI0PUU

After Sunday's game, Blashill defended his player's actions, saying if you're going to win consistently, teammates must step up for one another after a liberty is taken.

On Tuesday, he was even more adamant.

"I don't think Bert's a dirty player at all, to be honest with you. You can take your opinion on that play," Blashill said. "Certainly, there was a spear that preceded it. So, at that point, once a spear happens, I think to a large degree, all bets are off.

"Bert doesn't run around taking cheap shots at anybody at any time. There's other guys in this league that do that I hope get punished more severely. Bert went face to face and challenges people, doesn't do it the other way. There's nothing dirty about Bert. He's, I think, becoming an excellent hockey player. He made a poor decision to put himself in this spot. He knows that. He's been great for us and we'll welcome him back as soon as he's ready to go.

"I've done some things in the heat of the moment that aren't the best ever. Again, a lot of things happened there that escalated that situation, including us grabbing the stick to start with, him spearing our guy and then Bert throwing the punch. We'll deal with the consequences."

Detroit will be without Bertuzzi for Tuesday's game versus Tampa Bay and Thursday's tilt in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.

He will return to the lineup on Saturday when the Red Wings host the New York Islanders at Little Caesars Arena.

In 27 games this season, Bertuzzi has nine goals among 16 points, he's plus-2 and has been assessed 28 penalty minutes with an ice time average of 15:07 per game.   

BOLTS IN TOWN: The Wings know they'll be shorthanded against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Lightning are without goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has a left foot fracture.

Backup Louis Domingue played in the team's 5-1 victory at New Jersey Monday night, so former Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender Eddie Pasquale, who helped the Griffins win the Calder Cup in 2017, is expected to make his NHL debut in Detroit.

"I think it's try and make it a hard night as possible, crash the net, shoot a lot of pucks from all angles," Nyquist said of facing a rookie netminder. "I'm sure whenever you play in this league as a goalie, you're a good goalie, so I'm sure he's a good goalie, but we'll try and make it as tough of a night as possible."

The Lightning have beaten the Wings 12 straight times during the regular season. The Wings' last win against Tampa Bay came Nov. 3, 2015.

"It's the same kind of, Tampa and Boston, we managed to get that win in Boston, but we have another big one coming up," Nyquist said. "Tampa is a tough team, they're fast, they've got a lot of skilled players that can score goals and are really dangerous offensively. I think the key is probably to stay out of the box because they've got a really dangerous power play. A lot of shooters on that first unit. We have to spend as much time in their zone as possible so they can't use their offensive abilities."

RASMUSSEN BOBBLEHEAD REACTION: If there was a consensus about Rasmussen's bobblehead, it was this:

"It's not tall enough," Larkin said.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: It���s @mrasmussen16 bobblehead night! Be one of the first 7500 fans here tonight and you can take one home courtesy: @CocaCola. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/iJuQkFbXXx

"Needs to be a little taller but it's pretty good," Glendening said.

Larkin didn't mind that Rasmussen got a bobblehead in his rookie season.

"Awfully quick," Larkin noted. "(I got one,) It was my second year. But then I had one the next year so I had two in two years. It's good to see some other guys on it."

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