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Wings seek short series sweep of Leafs

by Craig Peterson / Detroit Red Wings

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser battles with Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson in the first game of a home-and-home series. (Getty Images)

DETROIT — After defeating the Maple Leafs 4-1 less than 24 hours ago, the Red Wings will aim for a weekend sweep on Saturday night.

“The main thing was we got two points after the way we played Wednesday in our house against Boston,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I think it was one of my worst games as a Red Wing, so it was nice to bounce back and get two big points.”

Zetterberg put together an impressive four-point performance in Toronto and will look to carry that momentum into tonight's second game in consecutive nights against the Leafs.

“When he was sitting in my office there the next morning I knew he was serious, so he practiced real well the next day, we didn’t practice long but he practiced real well and was determined,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s a leader of our team and we expect him to be good and when he’s not good we expect him to respond and he did.”

Justin Abdelkader scored his second goal of the season skating on Zetterberg’s line on Friday in place of the injured Johan Franzen, who left the game early with leg cramps. His status for tonight is unclear. In the event that Franzen cannot go, Abdelkader would remain on the top line and forward Stephen Weiss would see his first action of the 2014-15 season.

“(Zetterberg) had a really good summer of training, came in really good shape. He’s our leader, he’s our go-to guy, sets the tone for the rest of the guys each night,” Abdelkader said. “It’s huge to have him in the lineup. He just kind of has a calming presence, whether it’s on the ice or in the locker room.

“He’s just so smart. Great players like that just think the game so well. He’s kind of one step ahead of everyone on the ice. That’s what makes him such a great player. That’s another example right there. He kind of knew what everyone else was going to be doing on the ice, whether it was Reimer who was going to overplay or the defenseman who was going to come to him, and he knew he had Franzen there behind him. Just a great play by him. He really played well for us tonight and led the team.”

Gustav Nyquist — who has a goal in each of the first four games — will be skating alongside Zetterberg and hopes to continue his goal streak. Nyquist could become the first Wings' player since Sergei Fedorov in 1993 to score a goal in each of the team’s first five games of the season.

“He’s just good. He’s confident, he creates space when he has the puck,” Babcock said. “He goes faster (with the puck) than when he doesn’t have the puck, he’s got great skill with it but he’s got great confidence with it.” 

Originally, Jimmy Howard was slated to backup Jonas Gustavsson tonight. However, Howard has a sore groin muscle and the Red Wings recalled Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids. Gustavsson will make his first start of the season.

Arguably the most impressive Wings prospect during the preseason, Mrazek posted a .940 save percentage and 2.14 goals against average in four appearances this year including a 27-save shutout on Sept. 29 against the Leafs. He will provide a viable No. 2 option if called upon.

The hope for Howard is that he will be ready to go on Tuesday when the team travels to Montreal. He made 23 saves in registering a 4-1 victory at Toronto on Friday. Gustavsson slated to make his first start of the season. Having Howard sit out from action gives him more time to rest up after an impressive four starts this season in which he has a .934 save percentage and 1.72 goals against average with a 2-1-1 record.

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