DETROIT – Forward Johan Franzen appears will be able to play, which leaves Todd Bertuzzi on the sideline again.
Franzen suffered an undisclosed injury at the end of Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
“Just got a little rest, no need to play those last minutes (Wednesday),” Franzen said Thursday. “I thought I’d get off and take the rest. So that’s it.”
Franzen said he is confident he will play.
Wings GM Ken Holland texted that it looks like Franzen is playing, but the final decision won’t come until after warmups.
Franzen did not take part in the optional skate.
Franzen has heated up of late, scoring six goals over the last six games. He scored a power play goal for the Wings, their fourth in two games, on Wednesday.
“We’re playing with more desperation and getting more pucks in front of the net,” Franzen said. “That’s usually where I hang out. So it’s mostly the way we’ve been playing lately.
“It suits me a lot better when we play a straighter game and get pucks to the net,” Franzen added. “You know what everyone is doing out there and it’s a lot easier to play.”
If Franzen can’t play, Bertuzzi will dress.
However, if Franzen plays Bertuzzi will sit according to Wings coach Mike Babcock.
“We just have to prepare for the process here tonight,” Babcock said about playing the Nashville Predators. “We’re playing a team that has a bunch of kids that got called up and are playing well. They get (Mike) Fisher back here tonight. They’re going to play hard. The last time we played them it took us 57 minutes to get to Franzen’s goal to give us some breathing room and I expect the same tonight. Pekka Rinne always gives us a tough time so we’ll have to get to him.”
The Wings won’t be facing Rinne tonight as Chris Mason will start for the Predators in goal.
“Last night you were playing the Stanley Cup champions and tonight you’re playing a team that’s out of the playoffs,” Babcock said. “No disrespect to them, but that sometimes effects your mindset and we can’t let that happen.
Nashville has played us hard each and every night I’ve been here and has beaten us a bunch so we have to be prepared and start on time.”
With two games left in the regular season, the Wings can lock up a playoff berth with a win and a Columbus loss in regulation.
“It’s been a different season for us,” Franzen said. “It’s a good experience for the whole team, just going to come out stronger for it. We’re really starting to play well here at the end when we have to and hopefully we can continue doing that the last two games here.”
The Blue Jackets play at Dallas tonight.
“Well for us the main issue is take care of our own business,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We cannot rely on what other teams do. We have to make sure that we’re ready to go tonight
and that we’re going after two points tonight. If we just take care of our own business, everything else will sort itself out. I think early energy and just go after them the way we have the last two games. We’ve got to keep doing that.”
If the Wings get no help from anyone else along the way, the Wings need just three points over their final two games to reach the postseason for a 22nd consecutive season.