Zetterberg ready to return to the Wings lineup in the next round

DETROIT (AP) -- Henrik Zetterberg looks good to go.

The Detroit Red Wings seem confident Johan Franzen will be as well when their second-round series starts sometime next week.

Zetterberg skated hard Friday, easily beating teammates when they did laps around the rink, after missing the first round with an injured left knee.

"I'm excited to be back," he said.

Franzen didn't skate with his teammates to rest his injured left ankle.

"Not one bit concerned about that," Detroit coach Mike Babcock insisted. "I don't know when he'll start to practice. We'll give him as much time as we can to make sure he's feeling good."

Time is on the Red Wings' side because they earned about a week off after sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night. Detroit, which will take Saturday and Sunday off, won't start the next round until both conferences' series are done, and that can't happen earlier than Tuesday night.

Zetterberg, the team's leading scorer during the regular season, would have been able to play against Phoenix had a Game 5 been
necessary.

He seemed sharp in practice at Joe Louis Arena, pushing himself enough to create a huge gap between himself and a group that
included Valtteri Filppula.

"That was a good sign," Filppula said. "He's really fast when he's healthy."

Franzen doesn't rely as much on his speed, but the 6-foot-3, 218-pound forward with a strong shot and a knack for scoring in the playoffs, is a key player for a team that hopes to hoist the Stanley Cup for the fifth time since 1997.

He had a team-high 28 goals during the regular season and opened this postseason with a goal and an assist, giving him at least a point in 13 straight playoff games.

"I doubt he'll have trouble starting the second round with us," Niklas Kronwall said. "But I'm not a doctor or a trainer."

Despite missing two of its top scorers at times against the Coyotes, Detroit averaged 4 1/2 goals in the brief series.
 

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