The Detroit Red Wings hope to get one injured player back to help compensate for the loss of another when they host the Washington Capitals on Friday in the front end of a home-and-home series.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg, the team leader in goals and points, has missed the last two games with an ailing back and could return to the lineup, but Johan Franzen will be sidelined until after the Olympics due to a concussion. The Red Wings said early Friday that Zetterberg does expect to play Friday night.
Jimmy Howard will be back in goal after missing four games with a knee injury.
The Capitals appeared to turn a corner with back-to-back victories following a seven-game winless drought, but they took a step back with Thursday's 5-2 loss in Columbus, surrendering the first four goals of the contest. Alex Ovechkin, who leads the league with 38 goals, wound up a woeful minus-5 in the defeat.
"I was today the worst player out there," Washington's captain said after the game. "I can't play like that. I have to bounce back. ... I feel bad for my team because I have to lead. But today I was bad."
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, RDS2, CSN (Washington), FSN (Detroit)
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (24-22-8): Washington suffered a potentially damaging injury when defenseman Mike Green was knocked out of Thursday's game after taking a hard hit against the boards and banging his head against the glass. Green, who has a history of concussions, was motionless on the ice for several minutes before leaving with an upper-body injury and will be evaluated Friday in Detroit. The Capitals' power play, which was the best in the league for much of the season, failed on seven chances Thursday and has converted only twice in its last 25 opportunities.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (23-19-11): Detroit is having major issues of its own on the power play, failing to cash in on four chances in a 5-0 loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday and connecting on 4-of-50 attempts this month. Part of the problem has been injuries to the team's most lethal scorers -- Zetterberg, Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk -- but coach Mike Babcock said their replacements need to step up their games.
"I don’t care where they’re from or where they played before or how many minutes, you can do things right," Babcock said. "It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or not."
1. Washington has won the last three meetings, including a 3-2 shootout decision in Detroit on Nov. 15.
2. Howard has won only four of his last 18 starts (4-8-6).
3. Capitals F Joel Ward scored his 14th goal Thursday, matching his total from the previous two seasons combined.