The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to have star forward Pavel Datsyuk back in the line-up Thursday night when the Wings go into Sunrise Florida to take on the Florida Panthers.
Datsyuk has missed over a month now, not playing since the Winter Classic on January 1st at The Big House, when the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings took to the field to play one of the largest outdoor hockey games to date.
Datsyuk has been battling a nagging knee injury, and has missed the last 14 games in the time he’s been sidelined. Datsyuk has 15 goals and 17 assists in 35 games so far this season.
Datsyuk is a large part of the Wings offense, and defensive game plans, being a three time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy. The Red Wings have been struggling this season, spending the majority of their time right on the edge of the playoff bubble.
As the season begins to wind down over the next couple of months, Datsyuk’s health will be a large issue for the Red Wings chances to prolong their current streak of not missing the playoffs in more than two decades . The Wings currently sit even with the Philadelphia Flyers at 62 points, but with Philadelphia owning the tie breaker, the Flyers are currently claiming the last wild card spot. However, the Toronto Maple Leafs who own the first wild card spot, have only 66 points, the same total as the Montreal Canadiens (who own the tie breaker between the two teams) who come in at the 3rd spot in the Atlantic Division.
The Wings will look forward to having Datsyuk back in the line up, after missing a significant amount of time, the forward hopes to step out and make a difference for a team that went 7-5-2 in his absence.