Wings coach Mike Babcock is pulling out all the stops to keep Detroit’s hopes of extending its best-of-seven Eastern Conference first round series with the Boston Bruins and stretching it to a Game 6 back at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.
Rookie defenseman Xavier Ouellet will replace Jakub Kindl and Daniel Alfredsson is back in, taking Todd Bertuzzi’s spot.
“I just like that he’s a good player and we needed a change on the back, so to be honest with you we haven’t spent enough time watching him play and knowing,” Babcock said of Ouellet replacing Kindle on the blue line. “He’s been better when he’s played with us than he has been in the American League. He’s a real smart player, he’s played well when he’s been up, we like him. So, we’re making the change because we felt we needed to make the change.”
Ouellet played four regular season games with the Wings.
In 70 games with Grand Rapids, Ouellet had four goals and 13 assists and 22 penalty minutes.
Jimmy Howard will be on the bench to backup starter Jonas Gustavsson.
There were rumors on Friday that Howard was suffering from a concussion.
“(It’s) just the flu,” Babcock said.
Alfredsson has missed the last two games in the series with a back problem.
“I mean the player has to be healthy enough to skate,” Babcock said. “We talk about leadership, leadership is, I mean, saying the right things is important, but playing right is way more important. If you can’t skate you can’t play. So we’ve gone through this for a while. Any of these back injuries where they get the shooting pain down their legs it makes it hard for you to skate. And when you’re a little bit concerned and you don’t get involved it makes it hard.
“Alfie skated great yesterday in practice, probably as great as he’s skated in a long time, so we put him in,” Babcock added.