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Red Wings expect Lidstrom, Ericsson to play

by Larry Lage / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT -- Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Friday defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Jonathan Ericsson will play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Babcock said Pavel Datsyuk's status will be a last-minute decision before Saturday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL's first championship rematch in 25 years.

Lidstrom and Datsyuk practiced the day before the opener, but Ericsson didn't as a precaution just days following surgery for acute appendicitis.

The defending champion Red Wings will lean heavily on Lidstrom against superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Lidstrom is a six-time winner of the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman, and a finalist to win it again this summer. He has missed two games with a lower-body injury

Detroit would also get a boost from Datsyuk, a finalist for league MVP and best defensive forward honors, but doesn't want to rush him back because a foot injury kept him out of the last three games in the Western Conference finals.

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