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Zetterberg to miss final two games

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT – The Red Wings were dealt a bit of bad news Thursday when they learned that they’ll be without star forward Henrik Zetterberg for a minimum of two games.

Zettereberg suffered a lower body injury during the first period of Wednesday’s 3-0 loss at Carolina. He is expected to miss the final two games of the regular-season, but said he should be back in time for the start of Stanley Cup playoffs, which begins next week.

“We didn’t really know the severity of it; we just had to wait today and get the MRI,” Zetterberg said. “I will say it was better than I thought. The only thing we know is that I won’t play this weekend, and then we will go day-by-day and see the progress and see how much better it gets.” 

Zetterberg would not elaborate on the nature of the injury, but also didn’t think that the injury will hold him out of the lineup for a prolonged length of time.

“It may be day by day by day by day by day by day by day and still not be better,” said Zetterberg with a grin. “I’m not a doctor.”

For the first time in his NHL career, Zetterberg was poised to play in all 82 games of a season, making the injury even more frustrating.

“This is when the fun time starts. You want to be healthy; you want to be ready to go,” he said. “I will say you’re never 100 percent this time of year, but you want to be able to help the team. It did feel a little worse today, which was expected and it feels a little stiff, but the next few days will be critical.” 

After firing the puck into the Hurricane’s zone, Zetterberg fell back and landed awkwardly on his left leg after he was stood up at the blue line by Carolina defenseman Bryan Allen. The Wings’ All-Star needed help up from the ice before he skated to the bench. Zetterberg skated one more shift before he left the game in the first period and did not return.

He did not practice with the Wings Thursday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings finish the season with a home and home series against the Blackhawks, Friday in Detroit and Sunday afternoon in Chicago.

This season, Zetterberg leads the Wings in points (80), assists (56) and shots (306). He’s also tied for the team lead in power-play goals with 10.

Zetterberg, who walked with a limp through the locker room Thursday, will not require surgery.

“I think the worst part is just the timing,” veteran center Kris Draper said. “We’re two games out from the playoffs starting and that’s what we kept saying about getting healthy down the stretch and going into the playoffs. We lost one of our top players and that’s tough, but we’re going to have to deal with that. We’ve played without top players before and guys are going to have to elevate their game.”

BLACK ACES: The season is coming to an end for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red WIngs' minor league affiliate in the American Hockey League.

The Griffins wrap-up their season with a road game this Sunday in Milwaukee. Afterwards, it's expected that several players will be called up to Detroit for the start of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. Intern David Burke contributed to this report.

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