DETROIT – Quick update from the Wings’ morning skate at Joe Louis Arena prior to Game 3 tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Wings have two lineup changes.
Forward Mikael Samuelsson will be in the lineup for Todd Bertuzzi, while defenseman Brian Lashoff takes Danny DeKeyser’s spot on the blue line.
Samuelsson last played on March 31 before injuring a pectoral muscle.
“I have to play a simple game, that’s priority No. 1,” Samuelsson said. “Can’t go out there and do what I usually do … no, I’m just kidding. Just play a simple game, skate hard and hit guys. That’s where I’m going to start, and hopefully I’ll get a feel for the puck.”
Samuelsson will play on the fourth line with Cory Emmerton and Patrick Eaves.
“I’m going to fight for every puck, try to hit guys and play hard,” Samuelsson said. “I can play hard around the puck. It doesn’t matter how much you missed.
“I’ve been here before,” Samuelsson added. “Unfortunately, I got injured, but that’s nothing I think about right now. Like everybody else, I come in here really excited about tonight. Playoffs are awesome. That’s what I live and die for. It’s going to be fun.”
Samuelsson will also play the point on the second power play.
“He can shoot the puck,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s no different than Bert the last game, we’re going to watch him and see what happens. If he plays real good he can play a lot. What happens is when you haven’t played a lot it’s lightning fast. It’s not lightning fast for your legs, it’s lightning fast for your mind. You can’t play the game from behind it’s impossible.”
Bertuzzi played in Game 2 after playing last on Feb. 7.
“I’ve never played on a line with him so I’m excited,” Eaves said. “He’s a great player and I’ve played against him. I’m glad I’m playing with him tonight. Sometime it’s instant chemistry and sometimes you learn on the fly a guy’s tendencies.”
Eaves feels playing on special teams will help Samuelsson get back mentally quicker just like killing penalties did for himself.
“That’s where we get our minutes,” Eaves said. “He’ll be great on the power play. He’s got a great shot. He’s a righty and that’s what we need out there. I’m excited to see him play. Sometimes it’s limited minutes and sometimes you get more. It’s unpredictable. You just have to be mentally ready for anything. He’s been a pro for a long time so he gets it.”
Lashoff will be making his playoff debut.
“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 replaces DeKeyser, who broke his right thumb in Game 2 and is done for the season.
“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.”