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Kronwall in; Cole, Datsyuk out when Red Wings host Sharks

Jimmy Howard set to start in goal for Detroit

Red Wings forward Erik Cole (72) skates to the bench with an apparent injury during the game against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT – The good news for the Detroit Red Wings is veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall will be back in the lineup Thursday night when the team hosts the San Jose Sharks.

The bad news is center Pavel Datsyuk and forward Erik Cole won't be in the lineup, coach Mike Babcock said Thursday morning.

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Kronwall was out for his first game of the season Tuesday with an undisclosed injury. Cole will miss at least one game after leaving Tuesday's meeting with the Arizona Coyotes with an upper-body injury. Datsyuk has missed the past four games with his own injury.

Babcock said Jimmy Howard, who has gone 6-5-3 with a 3.00 goals-against average since returning from a groin injury, will start in net against the Sharks.

The Red Wings are 5 points ahead of the Ottawa Senators for the 3rd spot in the Atlantic Division.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN California, FSN Detroit

As for the Sharks, they are fighting to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2003. They have just nine games remaining on their schedule, six of which they will play on the road.

Goalie Antti Niemi has started the past nine. He gave up three goals on eight shots the other night against the Winnipeg Jets. He is 12-3-2 with a 1.72 goals-against average versus the Red Wings.

NOTES:

Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader has scored eight goals in his last 11 games.

The Red Wings have scored at least one power-play goal in 12 of the past 13 games.