(Photo by Scott Audette/NHL)
After a tough Game 2 in which the Lightning evened up the series, the Red Wings will look to regain the series lead as home-ice advantage shifts to Detroit.
The Red Wings will get a player back in their lineup for Game 3 as forward Justin Abdelkader returns after missing the past five games due to a hand injury. His return does more than add a big, talented scorer to the lineup; it allows coach Mike Babcock to spread the offense by playing Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on different lines. At practice Monday, Datsyuk centered a line with Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar, while Zetterberg skated between Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist.
“Putting Z back in the middle and giving him a winger, a guy that can skate and work for them, helps,”Babcock said. “Abby is a big body. He’s an everyday-er. He competes hard like Helm.”
Lightning coach Jon Cooper knows how important Abdelkader is to the Red Wings’attack. “He plays hard,”Cooper said. “If you’ve got to pick their top three players this year I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in it. He’s a big part of their team. …He’s somebody you have to be aware of when he’s on the ice.”
The Red Wings also will insert defenseman Brendan Smith into the lineup in place of rookie Alexey Marchenko. Smith had been a healthy scratch in the first two games of the series, but coach Babcock says he likes Smith's speed and competitiveness that he hopes Smith will bring here tonight.
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You can catch tonight's 7:00 PM matchup on Fox Sports Detroit, or tune in on 97.1 The Ticket with Ken Kal and Paul Woods.