LOS ANGELES – Henrik Zetterberg and Dan Cleary, key components of Detroit’s sputtering power play, were back in the Red Wings’ lineup Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings after recovering from shoulder injuries.
But left-wing Tomas Holmstrom was sidelined after sustaining a nondisplaced fracture in his foot Wednesday during practice at Anaheim.
Holmstrom, a 13-year veteran who has halped Detroit win four Stanley Cups and leads them with 15 goals this season, is expected to miss at least three to four weeks – leaving Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Todd Bertuzzi as the only players to appear in all 43 games this season for Detroit.
Zetterberg, who signed a 12-year, US$73-million contract extension last January, missed eight games after a solid check by Tampa Bay’s Mattias Ohlund on Dec. 17 at Joe Louis Arena left the 2008 playoff MVP with a separated left shoulder.
Cleary, who had a league-best plus-17 rating during last year’s playoffs, sat out 12 games after separating his shoulder on Dec. 9 in a home game against St. Louis. Both forwards are expected to bolster an anemic power play that had produced only two goals in 39 chances during Cleary’s absence.
Despite the fact that 17 players are left from Detroit’s 2007-08 Stanley Cup championship team, the injury-plagued Red Wings entered Thursday five points behind Vancouver for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot – after winning eight consecutive division titles and recording a league-record nine straight 100-point seasons.
The Wings haven’t missed the post-season since 1989-90, when they finished five points behind eighth-place Los Angeles in the conference. The 18-year playoff run is the longest active one in pro sports.