Datsyuk, Red Wings host Flyers tonight
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings have won four of their last six games, and four of those have been without world-class center Pavel Datsyuk.
The veteran Russian forward is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday night when the Wings host the Philadelphia Flyers. He has been plagued by a groin injury, but despite that and a shoulder injury at the beginning of the season, Datsyuk still has 11 points.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports, TCN (Philadelphia), Fox Sports Detroit
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (11-5-5, 3rd in Atlantic Division):
Stephen Weiss came back from conditioning stints in Grand Rapids to score two goals Monday night against the Ottawa Senators. It was a big night for Weiss and his teammates as the injury-riddled forward was able to get on the score sheet to help his team win, 4-3. He hasn't had a performance like it in almost two years thanks to injuries.
Weiss is one of several players who has stepped up during Datsyuk's absence. Forwards Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar are carrying more of the load for the offence.
Tatar has 6 points in the past four games and 8 in six games. He was named one of the NHL's stars of the week last week. He now has 9 goals this season. Coach Mike Babcock said he's harder on 23-year-old Tatar than some of his other players because he knows "he can take it."
"Because he responds. You have 23 athletes and you gotta figure out 23 ways to coach them because they're all different ... Tats is a guy who has high-end skill and he's determined. He's really determined to score. We want our guys to be determined to score and determined not to be scored against," Babcock said after Wednesday's morning skate.
Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start in net for the Wings. He has a 2.17 GAA and .915 SV% over the the last month.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (8-9-3, 6th in Metropolitan Division):
Jakub Voracek is a points machine. With 7 goals and 22 assists, Voracek is matched by only Sidney Crosby at the top of the NHL with 29 points.
However, he hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 14 against Columbus and the Flyers have struggled to find offense and win games since then. They were shut out by the New York Islanders, 1-0, on Monday, failing to pick up the second point in a shootout.
Philadelphia has gone 1-5 in their past six games as they fall further down the standings. They are 11 points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins and Islanders, and can't afford to give up points in such a tough division.
Steve Mason will be between the pipes for Philly on Wednesday. He stopped 46 shots in the shootout loss to the Islanders and has won four of eight in the past month with a 1.89 GAA and .946 SV%.
The Red Wings and Flyers last met Oct. 25 when the Flyers won, 4-2, at home. Datsyuk and Riley Sheahan scored for Detroit while Michael Raffl potted two goals and an assist for the Flyers. Voracek enjoyed one of several 2-point nights.
Remember to download the "Hockey in the D" app for the latest Red Wings news and alerts.
Copyright 2014 by ClickOnDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.