Rafalski, who normally plays on the top defense pairing with Nicklas Lidstrom
, has been out of the lineup for this round because of an undisclosed upper-body injury after playing in the first-round sweep of Columbus. Babcock didn’t rule out the puck-moving rearguard for Game 4.
Rafalski didn’t take part in practice Tuesday at the Honda Center.
About his defenseman’s availability for Thursday night, Babcock said, "I’m sure hoping so. But I was hoping for Game 2. Doesn’t matter how much I hope, though."
Red Wings center Kris Draper is also out for Game 3 as he is also battling an upper-body injury that has rendered him unable to play a game in the postseason. Draper took part in practice but is still awaiting medical clearance.
"The good thing is once I get the nod from the docs, then there isn’t any conditioning period and doing that stuff," Draper said. "That’s the one positive to this whole thing."
Draper said that he’s still unsure if Game 4 is a possibility.
"I thought Game 1 was realistic," he said. "I know I’m not playing Game 3 and we’ll just go from there. Maybe the morning of Thursday, we’ll see what the docs have to say. If I get good news, obviously I’ll be real excited. If not, just wait and see what happens."
Babcock said he doesn’t plan to make any changes for Game 3, meaning rookie Jonathan Ericsson
will continue to take Rafalski’s spot on the blue line and 47-year-old Chris Chelios will again be in the lineup after playing just under seven minutes in each of the first two contests.