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Notes: Nielsen returns but Nyquist now out due to illness

Blashill believes defensive-minded de la Rose is capable of more offense

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- It was going to be a matter of two tough decisions for Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill but one decision was made for him.

Center Frans Nielsen, who sat out Saturday's game in Philadelphia due to a stomach bug, is set to return in the second game against the Flyers Sunday in Detroit.

That would have meant that a healthy forward would be out but Blashill announced before the game that Gustav Nyquist would miss the game due to an illness different from the one Nielsen had.

The other lineup issue is on the blue line.

The Wings called up rookie defenseman Filip Hronek from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday with the intention of playing him Sunday, which Blashill confirmed would be the case.

However, Blashill did not say which defenseman Hronek would replace in the lineup.

Blashill took goaltender Jimmy Howard out in the third period of Saturday's game when the Flyers scored their fifth goal, opening up the possibility Howard could start again.

"I'd say anything's a possibility," Blashill said. "We played at 1 and we play at 6 so I'd say everything's on the table and after warmups, you'll see what our lineup is."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Blashill gives a lineup update and talks today's matchup with Philly ahead of our 6:00pm puck drop:

Jonathan Bernier replaced Howard and stopped 7-of-8 shots but took the 6-5 overtime loss in Philadelphia.

DE LA ROSE'S VERSATILITY: Since the Wings claimed center Jacob de la Rose off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 17, de la Rose has become a mainstay in the Wings' lineup, usually as the fourth-line center.

But when Nielsen missed Saturday's game, de la Rose centered Thomas Vanek and Anthony Mantha, which left the Darren Helm-Luke Glendening-Andreas Athanasiou line intact.

"He's been a good player for us," Blashill said. "He's done a really good job on the penalty kill, he's a very good, sound defensive player. I would say at times too defensive and too passive and that's one thing we've tried to work is getting him a little more aggressive, both from taking time and space away and from being willing to attack more offensively. I think he's made his way into the league as a real good defensive player but he's got lots of skill.

"We just want to see that skill unleashed a little bit more. But with that said, he's a guy who has played with real good players, played with (Filip) Forsberg and (Viktor) Arvidsson at the world championships. That was one of the reasons we liked him is he had the skill and the mind to be able to play with real good players but he's a real good defensive player."

de la Rose has three goals, four assists and is minus-6 in 47 games.

FLYERS AGAIN: The Wings have a somewhat unusual situation, playing the Flyers again in the second half of a back-to-back, home-and-home set.

"First of all, we're both doing it so it's totally fair," Blashill said. "Sometimes it can be good. I used to do this all the time in college. It's a little different from a preparation standpoint. Usually our coaches have pre-scouted the opponent a bunch and I break down last night's game and they bring me lots of stuff from our opponents. This is a little bit different. I think the challenge is that we weren't very good for 42 minutes last night, we got to find a way to be way better for 42 minutes. We're in there digging through video to find ways to put our group in the right spot to be successful as possible. We just got to make sure we're better."

The Wings spotted the Flyers a 5-1 lead before rallying to tie the game with seven seconds left in Philadelphia.

One thing that can happen with the same opponent is tempers can flare.

"We don't do it enough, to be honest with you," Blashill said. "We don't do it enough for me to really have a good recollection of a bunch of it. I would tend to think yes, that can happen. Obviously in the playoffs that happens, for sure. But yes, it probably does happen, they probably are a little bit chippier."

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