Weiss appears ready to return hopefully to ignite offense; Howard questionable for Tuesday

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice as they prepare to host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

Stephen Weiss appears ready to return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a shoulder injury.

“I’m ready to play,” Weiss said after practice Monday. “Now we’ll just see if coach puts me in, but yeah I’m ready to go.

“I’m real excited,” Weiss added. “Obviously, you don’t want to miss this many games but that’s the way it goes sometimes with injuries. It’s tough to watch these last few at home and I’m really looking forward to hopefully getting one in before (the break).”

Weiss could ignite an offense that’s only scored six goals over the last six games, going 0-2-4 in that stretch.

“I don’t know for sure,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said about Weiss’ availability. “We’ll know after the skate tomorrow morning, but it sure looks like he is.”

The Wings are 8-1-2 with Weiss in the lineup this season and 9-7-7 without him.

They also average nearly a goal more a game with him in there.

“We need to score some goals,” Babcock said. “It’s well noted in this stretch of six games, I don’t think we’ve played poorly, but you can’t keep saying that. You have to win games. We don’t score. We directed 71 shots at their net (Sunday) night and we don’t score. So we have to find a way to score goals. Maybe Weisser can do that. He was doing that for us before (he was injured). Maybe he gets another opportunity and gets going.”

Detroit is also winless in its last five at home (0-1-4).

It appears Petr Mrazek will get another start in goal as Jimmy Howard recovers from a slightly injured groin.

“There’s a chance, but I don’t know,” Howard said about the possibility of playing Tuesday. “I’ll probably have to talk a little bit more to (the staff) to see what’s best for myself and for the team.

“It’s responded every single day with treatments,” Howard continued “It felt good out there on the ice today so hopefully tomorrow another good work day and you never know.”

Howard was injured in the first period last Tuesday against the New York Islanders and left after the first period.

“When I was younger I probably wouldn’t have said anything and just continued to play with a sore groin,” Howard said. “You have to be cautious at this point. You don’t want to do something and then force yourself to be out an extended period of time. It’s all about being smart.”

Mrazek, 3-3 for the season, fell to 0-4 at home during his brief career.

The Wings have scored only two goals in 293 minutes and 57 seconds during Mrazek’s six appearances on home ice over the past two seasons.

In order to activate Weiss off short-term injured reserve they would have to send Tom McCollum back to Grand Rapids if Howard is able to return. Or they could put Howard on short-term injured reserve and he would be eligible to return Saturday.

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