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Notes: Megan excited to join Wings against Devils

Nielsen and DeKeyser could return Saturday; Vanek expected to miss 2-4 weeks

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

DETROIT -- First it was the defensemen, now the forwards are getting hurt.

Thomas Vanek left in the first period of Tuesday's game in Columbus with a lower-body injury, joining Andreas Athanasiou and Frans Nielsen on the shelf.

So the Wings called up center Wade Megan from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins Tuesday and sent down defenseman Joe Hicketts.

"I like Christoffer Ehn a lot as a player and at one point we were going to go with both of them," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "What I've been told from down there is Megan has been their best player every single night. He had a real good training camp. They're both similar in that they're real accountable defensively. It was a real close decision but we decided to go with Megan this time."

In eight games with the Griffins, Megan has two goals, two assists and is minus-3.

"He's got a little more offensive game," Blashill said. "The other thing with him is we'd like to not be a roller coaster if we can avoid it. So if you're getting a similar type player and maybe adding a little more offense it allows Ehner to stay put for now."

Megan, 28, was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in the fifth round, 138th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

He made his NHL debut for the St. Louis Blues two years ago and has one goal in four career games.

"I was very excited," Megan said. "I'm just super grateful for the opportunity to be here in the locker room and to compete with these guys tonight."

Megan said he found out after practice Wednesday that he was coming to Detroit.

"Then I was able to make the drive here, which makes it easy," Megan said. "That short trip from GR makes everything a little but easier. So that was good. I didn't really see it coming. I just tried to do what I had to do in Grand Rapids, do everything I could to help the team win in GR. Fortunately, this happened, so we'll go from here."

During the morning skate, Megan was centering Martin Frk and Nielsen.

"I'm going to try to bring a well-rounded game here," Megan said. "Just try to be reliable in the D zone. I think opportunities will arise offensively, in which case I think I can capitalize. Just try to play a well-rounded game and be reliable defensively and hopefully help out in the face-off circle as well."

Blashill said he still expects Vanek to miss 2-4 weeks.

Nielsen is not ready to play yet but could be available Saturday. Since Athanasiou did not skate Thursday, Blashill said it is unlikely he will play Saturday.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Getting ready to take on the Devils tonight at @LCArena_Detroit. | #LGRW pic.twitter.com/daRIQRvCIk

As for Hicketts, who did not have a point in his eight games in Detroit, Blashill had a message for him before he left.

"I thought Joe did a good job. Joe had a good camp," Blashill said. "My message was go be the best player, the best defenseman down there, we got a number of young D down there, so when it becomes time to get called up, you're the guy getting called up. Him, (Libor) Sulak, (Filip) Hronek, they're going to make the choice of which one gets called up. There will be a time when we have to call one of them up. Make sure you're the best player. He doesn't control that (call-up), it's our decision. Make sure you're the best player so that we're calling you up."

DEKEYSER SHOOTING FOR SATURDAY RETURN: Last month in Boston, the Red Wings not only lost a hockey game 8-2 to the Bruins, they also lost defenseman Danny DeKeyser early in the first period to a hand injury.

DeKeyser's total ice time was 1:31 in that contest and tonight against the Devils, he'll miss his eighth consecutive game, but there is good news on the horizon.

"I'm good, I'm feeling good out here," DeKeyser said after participating in Thursday's full morning skate. "I think today and tomorrow will be good resting up, I'm not playing tonight, but I should be ready to go on Saturday."

He told reporters he needs to make sure he can engage in the physical confrontations, which are essential to a defenseman's game.

"I just have to do some battling, it's not shooting or passing," DeKeyser said. "It's more the battling stuff in the corners trying to win puck battles and not have any hesitations about it."

With the Red Wings on a two-game winning streak, DeKeyser has liked what he's seen from his teammates.

He is chomping at the bit to get back into the lineup to help the Wings maintain their momentum.

"We've been looking really good," he said. "In the last two games we played more structured, but I thought we played harder as well. We were harder on pucks, winning battles and stuff like that. It's defiantly good to see and hopefully it continues tonight."

DeKeyser was somewhat philosophical when he was asked about the Wings luck, which has not been too kind, since Detroit is experiencing a rash of injuries to the forward corps just when the blueline is getting healthier.

"I know, I know, it'd be nice if we had everybody healthy all year, but that's pro sports for you," DeKeyser lamented.

In five games played, DeKeyser has an assist, is even with an average ice time of 19:18 per game.

DEVILS IN TOWN: The New Jersey Devils (5-3-1, 0-2-0 on the road) are in town for the first of two visits to Little Caesars Arena this season.

They are coming off an 8-3 loss in Tampa.

"We have to be ready to play," Devils coach John Hynes said. "We're playing against a team that's really intense. Detroit, I think the last couple of games has played really well, certainly better than what their record is. So for us, we definitely understand the opponent we're playing and what their strengths are but it's really important for us to tighten some things up in our game that were lacking and we got to come out with a real strong response type game. None of us like what happened in Tampa, now we have an opportunity to go out and prove it right."

The Wings know that the Devils will be looking to atone for the one-sided loss.

"They just compete hard," Rasmussen said. "They compete really hard. Coming off a loss they're going to be pretty hungry, so we just gotta be ready to match their compete and their work ethic."

For their part, the Wings are trying to build on two straight wins over Dallas and Columbus.

"You build on it by playing great hockey, so we better come out today and play great hockey," Blashill said. "We better come out today ready to compete and win puck battles and puck races. If we do that, I think we've been a good team, last couple of games we've been in position to win games and we've won them. Prior to that we didn't win them.

"Confidence matters and the more you win the more confidence you have and the better you feel about yourself but the only way you keep it is to make sure you come out and you're playing with the same kind of drive and competition level."

RASMUSSEN'S BUSY OFF DAY: After scoring his first career NHL goal on Tuesday in Columbus, Michael Rasmussen knew his phone was going to blow up.

"It was pretty busy," Rasmussen said. "Lots of texts, lots of people reaching out. It was pretty cool.

"I don't know who the first one was. Maybe one of my sisters."

Rasmussen spent Wednesday's off day getting back to friends and family.

"I responded to everyone," Rasmussen said. "I appreciate everyone reaching out. It's awesome."

During the morning skate, Rasmussen and Gustav Nyquist were on Jacob de la Rose's wings.

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