DETROIT — Defenseman Brian Lashoff will make his playoff debut, replacing an injured Danny DeKeyser (broken right thumb) on the blue line.
“I think Lash will be fine,” Babcock said. “He’s played a lot this year. That’s not a big deal. He’s been a big time player for us. He played well against the Ducks the last time, matched up against the (Teemu) Selanne group which he’ll do again tonight, so it’s perfect. Everything is good for him.”
Lashoff, 23, who last played on April 4 due to the Wings’ depth on the blue line, leapfrogged over veterans Carlo Colaiacovo and Ian White to earn a spot in the lineup.
“I’ve been watching plenty of video, so there’s no reason I can’t come in and contribute,” Lashoff said. “Playing in the playoffs is huge. As the year went along, I got more and more confident and I got into more games, so I’m just excited to play and hopefully contribute.”
He’ll be the sixth Red Wings player, and fourth defenseman, to make their career playoff debuts in this series.
“I’m ready to go,” Lashoff said. “I’ve been itching to get out there.
“The intensity is up a notch or two (in the playoffs),” Lashoff added. “It’s really physical and more competitive, which I like. It’s been fun to watch, but at the same time, I want to be out there.”
Lashoff had one goal, four assists and a minus-10 rating in 31 regular season games this year.
“I can’t make anyone skate like DeKeyser, he’s a world class skater,” Babcock said. “Lash has to play the way Lash does and everyone has to do what they do and you just adjust. Dig in, play hard and let’s go.”
Lashoff will be paired with Kindl to begin the game.
“It’s sad that DK got hurt,” Kindl said. “Lash is a good defenseman. I’m very excited for him. I’m glad I can play with him. He’s a smart player, he can move the puck, he’s solid defensively. I’m sure he’ll be fine, he’s been working his butt off ice and on the ice to stay in shape. I’m sure he’ll play simple, just move the puck ahead all the time and I think he’ll be fine.”