Red Wings Datsyuk Likely Out For Game Three

pavel-datsyukTotal Pro Sports – Up two games and looking to make it a 3-0 strangle-hold tonight in Chicago, the Detroit Red Wings will be without their top scorer from the regular season.  Pavel Datsyuk did not take part in this morning’s skate and is unlikely to play in tonight’s game 3 of the Western Conference finals after taking a shot in the foot during the Wings 3-2 win in game 2.

Mike Babcock did not say much about the injury, but did make the following comment:

“He’s going to be a game-time decision.  He’s not skating right now. We’ll decide here tonight.”

How much of a loss this is for the Red Wings remains to be seen.  With only one goal and seven points in 13 games, Datsyuk has been relatively quiet on the score sheet, but his presence on the ice and his defensive abilities are almost irreplaceable, that is unless you are the Detroit Red Wings.  With Pavel ailing, players like Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa and Valteri Filppula will shoulder a bit more of the load, but with their depth up front (as well as a solid defense that can help chip in offensively) the Wings will not be hamstrung by the loss.

Look for Darren Helm and Filppula to be affected most, as they are both expected to bump up a line, and forward Ville Leino will be inserted into the lineup as well.  The lines combinations will likely look as follows:

Franzen – Zetterberg – Cleary
Holmstrom – Filppula – Hossa
Helm – Samuelsson – Hudler
Maltby – Draper – Leino

The loss of Datsyuk will likely be felt most on special teams.  His role will be a difficult one to fill on both the power-play and penealty-kill.  If the Blackhawks expect to come back and present a challenge in this series, they are going to have to take advantage of Datsyuk’s absence tonight.  That wont be easy, but things can only get worse for the young Chicago team when he is in the lineup. []

Tags: Chicago Blackhawks, detroit red wings, hockey, Mike Babcock, NHL, Pavel Datsyuk, western conference,