DETROIT >> Dealing with life without Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup has been manageable for the Detroit Red Wings this season.
Add not having Henrik Zetterberg in the lineup either, and it’s not been quite as manageable.
The Wings again will be without their top two scoring threats when they play at Philadelphia, Tuesday.
Both players did not even make the trip with the team Monday according to general manager Ken Holland.
Zetterberg was a last-minute scratch Sunday when a lingering back issue flared up prior to the home game against the Florida Panthers.
After the shootout loss to the Panthers, Detroit dropped to 1-2-1 this season without both Datsyuk and Zetterberg in the lineup.
“He’s been having back issues, we knew that,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the game Sunday. “You come to the rink hopeful he’s going to play.”
Zetterberg, who leads the team with 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) has not been taking part in practices this week with Detroit playing every other day since a week ago Saturday.
This will be the 11th straight game Datsyuk, who’s still tied for second on the team with 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) will miss with a lower-body injury.
He hasn’t played since the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
Prior to this season, Datsyuk and Zetterberg had not sat out the same game since April 18, 2006, a 6-3 loss to the Nashville Predators.
This was not the news the Wings were looking for with a pivotal game against the Flyers looming.
Detroit is just a point ahead of Philadelphia, who is 0-3-1 in its last four games, in the race for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Wings have lost seven games in a row in Philadelphia, being outscored 28-13 in the process.
Detroit’s last regular season win in Philadelphia was on Jan. 25, 1997.
This is the final meeting of the regular season between the teams.
Earlier this season, the Wings beat the Flyers (5-2 on Oct. 12) and lost to them (6-3 on Dec. 4).
The Wings are expected to have Joakim Andersson back in the lineup after he missed the last six games with a lower-body injury.
Jimmy Howard will return after re-aggravating a knee injury last Monday. He’s missed a total of 11 games due to the injury that originally occurred on Dec. 11.
Howard is just 9-12-8 this season with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
With his return, the Wings sent Petr Mrazek back to Grand Rapids.
The parade of injured players returning started recently as Darren Helm, Jonathan Ericsson, Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen.
With the influx of bodies returning it’s going to lead to some tough decisions for the team on who plays, who sits and who is waived or sent down to Grand Rapids.
“What we’re going to do is talk about it and the best guys are going to play,” Babcock said Sunday. “It’s not going to have anything to do with age, it’s just going to be what have you done here lately.”
Three or the young players – Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Tomas Jurco – have provided quite a spark since becoming ‘everydayers.’
“They’re pushing real hard,” Babcock said.
The Wings already made a decision with one of their veterans, Mikael Samuelsson, waiving him Saturday.
“These kids have played pretty well, we’ve got good competition,” Holland said. “And now we’re starting to get healthy. We’ve got tough decisions. We’ll make them as we go.”
Before finding out that Zetterberg was a last-minute scratch Sunday, Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary were healthy scratches. Cleary took Zetterberg’s spot in the lineup.
“I don’t want the kids here if they’re not in the lineup,” Holland said.
Gustav Nyquist was named the NHL’s second star after scoring in four consecutive games last week. He also picked up two assists.
Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen was the first star and Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera was the third star.
It’s the longest goal-scoring streak since Cleary scored in six straight games from Nov. 5 to Nov. 17, 2010.
Datsyuk did score in five straight games he participated in during the 2012-13 season, but missed a game due to injury during that streak.