DETROIT >> Quick update from Detroit Red Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena, Thursday.
The team could get Henrik Zetterberg back in the lineup Friday night against the Washington Capitals after missing the last two games with a back injury.
“Had a good day today, it’s fun to skate again,” Zetterberg said after practice. “I skated a little bit (Wednesday). Hopefully I’ll feel good (Friday) after the morning skate and we’ll go from there.”
Zetterberg missed 11 games in December with a herniated disc.
“(This time it’s) a little different, but it’s in the area,” Zetterberg said. “We just have to see. We’ve done everything we could so it doesn’t get worse and now just hopefully stay on this path and it keeps getting better.”
Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body injury) is out.
“He was still one leg skating today,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Getting Zetterberg back is something the Wings need with five games left before Olympic break.
The team has given up 10 goals over the last two games.
“We know every night we’re tested,” Babcock said. “I don’t think it was hard to look at Philly’s lineup the other night and see that had more veteran players dressed than us. Washington has a lot of guys that can hurt you on one shift. We’re going to have to be real good. Their power play is good. We have to pay attention to detail in that area.
“The biggest thing is we have to look after our part,” Babcock continued. “As much as it is about the opposition it’s way more about yourself and how you play. We’re very capable of doing what we think is a game plan. Does that guarantee success? No, but it sure gives us a chance.”
Alex Ovechkin leads the league with 38 goals.
“He’s obviously a great player, but he plays with great players as well,” Zetterberg said. “Most of the time it’s the other players that sets Ovechkin up where he has room and space for his shot. He’s good. He can score from anywhere. You’ve got to be aware, not just of Ovie, but the other guys that play with him too. Minimize his space and it makes it a lot easier if you have the puck rather than chasing the puck.”
Ovechkin, who also has 17 assists, has 14 goals on the power play.
“He knows how to play,” Babcock said. “He’s a big man, can skate, shoots the puck, he loves to play hockey. He loves to score goals. He’s dangerous. He doesn’t need much room. He can bull you over, shoot the puck and you look and it’s in the net. We’re going to have to be real tidy defensively. We have to execute coming out of our own zone the first time and spend time in their zone.”
Jimmy Howard will be back in goal after missing the last four games with a knee injury.
“It definitely wasn’t as serious as before so I knew it wasn’t going to be that long,” said Howard, who missed eight games in December with a knee injury. “It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster ride here for a little bit. We’ve just got to find a way to even out those highs and lows and find a more consistent basis. I think it’s just finding any way possible to get points each and every night.”