Hobbled Red Wings visit Flyers

Published March 06, 2012

| Sports Network

The hobbled Detroit Red Wings will try to bounce back from a loss when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for tonight's interconference clash at Wells Fargo Center.

The Red Wings will not have No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard, leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk or defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Jonathan Ericsson when they take the ice tonight. Forwards Jakub Kindl and Todd Bertuzzi are also expected to miss this evening's contest due to injuries.

Howard started Sunday's home game against Chicago, but he was forced to leave in the first period with a lower-body injury. He gave up one goal on five shots and was back on the bench in the second period. Joey MacDonald finished the game in net and allowed one goal on 13 shots as the Blackhawks earned the 2-1 regulation win. MacDonald is expected to start tonight and Jordan Pearce has been recalled from the AHL to serve as the backup.

Lidstrom has missed the last three games with a right ankle injury, but could return later this week. Datsyuk is also nearing a return from the arthroscopic knee surgery that has caused him to miss the last six games. Bertuzzi (groin) and Kindl (upper body) both skated in Sunday's game before being forced to leave due to their respective injuries.

Ericsson broke his left wrist on Feb. 25 and is expected to miss a month of action.

"Injuries come to every team through the course of the year, and now it's bit us a little bit, but at the same time nobody is really thinking too much about it," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

Kronwall scored the lone goal on Sunday for the Red Wings, who had a two-game win streak snapped and lost for the fourth time in six tilts. The Swedish defenseman has two goals and five assists over his last three games.

Detroit enters tonight tied with St. Louis for first place in the Central Division. The Blues are playing tonight against visiting Chicago.

The Red Wings are playing five of their next six games on the road and are just 16-16-1 as the guest compared to a 27-4-2 home record.

The Flyers have had their share of injuries this season and recently added defenseman Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros to a list that currently includes Chris Pronger and James van Riemsdyk. Timonen and Meszaros were surprise scratches for Sunday's win in Washington and both players are sidelined indefinitely with lower-body issues.

Philadelphia goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov came up big in Sunday's 1-0 win over the Capitals, turning aside 34 shots for his third shutout of the season. Bryzgalov has started the last eight games for the Flyers, posting a 5-2 record over that stretch.

"I think it was an outstanding team effort," said Bryzgalov. "You could see guys sacrificing themselves, blocking shots, bottling in front of the net and around the boards. They did everything the coach asked of them."

Eric Wellwood netted the lone goal of the contest for Philadelphia, which has won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 10 and 12. The Flyers haven't put together three straight victories since a seven-game win streak from Dec. 2-15.

Philadelphia enters tonight as the fifth seed in the East, but the Flyers are just two points in back of Pittsburgh and one in front of New Jersey.

The Red Wings hosted the Flyers back on Feb. 12 and recorded a 4-3 regulation win. Detroit has taken four of seven overall in this series, but the Flyers have posted six straight home wins over the Red Wings.

Prior to the game, the Flyers will retire former defenseman Mark Howe's No. 2 sweater. Howe, a Hall of Famer, played 10 seasons with the Flyers and helped them reach two Stanley Cup Finals in 1985 and 1987.

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