Pavel Datsyuk is expected to be back in the Detroit Red Wings‘ lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, and that is great news for a team that is still missing Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm. While the Red Wings did manage to go 5-2-0 while Datsyuk was out, they have struggled to play quality hockey consistently in their last three games. After scoring six, five and four goals in three consecutive wins, Detroit has managed no more than three goals in any of the three games that have followed. Datsyuk’s return to the lineup should provide an offensive boost, and help a power play that has only converted twice despite having 18 chances in the past four games.
Datsyuk still leads the Red Wings with 12 goals, and is second on the team with 23 points. He will likely join Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen on the top line when he return. Franzen has been on a hot streak while Datsyuk was out, scoring four goals and adding nine points in his last seven games. After a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday ended a four-game win streak, Detroit bounced back with a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Unable to sustain positive momentum for too long, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Panthers on Saturday. They’ve registered 23 or fewer shots on goal in three of their last four games, but with Datsyuk back that should no longer be an issue. With three of the next four games coming against Atlantic Division opponents it is vital for this Detroit team to find consistency, and having their star center back should help them get there.