LOS ANGELES – Henrik Zetterberg will miss his second straight game when the Red Wings face-off against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center tonight.
The Red Wings’ captain said Tuesday that he’s still experiencing symptoms, though he would not elaborate.
“I feel like it hasn’t changed since Saturday. Hopefully, I will feel better soon. I thought it would be better but unfortunately, no,” Zetterberg said. “I have some symptoms that I don’t have when I am 100 percent, so until those symptoms go away, we’ve just got to take it easy.”
Zetterberg was injury Saturday during an encounter with Stars captain Jamie Benn early in the second period. Following a face-off in the Wings’ zone, Benn tried to get to the net, but was impeded by Zetterberg. Appearing agitated, Benn unleashed two elbow blows to the side of Zetterberg’s head.
“We had a battle on the faceoff and I think both me and him have done worse things than that on the ice,” Zetterberg said. “But obviously he got me in a bad spot and it is what it is.
“I think when you’re in the game, you’re in the game. It is a battle sport, so you are in battles all the time. I think once I went into the room and got away from the ice a little bit I realized I wasn’t the way I was supposed to be and we decided to not play anymore.”
Benn received a two-minute minor penalty for roughing, and the league took no further disciplinary action against the Stars’ forward, which was fine with Zetterberg.
“I don’t think it was that bad,” he said. “He just got me in a bad spot.”
Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are tied for the team scoring lead with 49 points.
Riley Sheahan, who scored the third-period goal that forced overtime Monday in Anaheim, will again play in the No. 2 hole in Zetterberg’s absence.
Center Joakim Andersson (illness) will be a game-time decision. If he can’t play, veteran Daniel Cleary will play for the second straight night, coach Mike Babcock said.
It’s certainly not a good time for the Red Wings to be shorthanded as they go against the Kings, who are winners of seven in a row.
Tonight marks the second and final regular-season meeting between these clubs. Detroit claimed a 5-2 win when Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist each collected two goals and an assist at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 31.
“They’re big, they’re strong, they’re a forecheck team,” Babcock said. “They can wear you out in your own zone. Their goaltender (Jonathan Quick) is a star. (Drew) Doughty is as good a D-man as there is in hockey. They have good depth up front. They can score, they can play. They’re a good hockey club, should be fun for us. We look forward to playing.”
Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson will start his first game since suffering a shoulder injury against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 5.
In his third season with Detroit, Gustavsson has been good when he’s healthy. He has a 20-8-6 record with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage in 33 starts.
“We’re playing Gus tonight because we feel that gives us the best chance to win on a back-to-back night,” Babcock said. “Here’s his opportunity. … Gus has always played well for us. He’s been excellent for us, it’s just that he’s hurt. So it’s an opportunity for him but it’s an opportunity for ourselves. Tonight’s all about getting points.”