Injuries continue to plague Red Wings

DETROIT - Injuries continue to plague any sort of momentum the Red Wings gain, and it's continuing to affect them at all positions.

The team called up forward Tomas Tatar and goaltender Petr Mrazek on Monday.

Tatar skated with Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula during practice, but Mike Babcock said that first line may not stick.

The Red Wings have been struggling to get any scoring from their second six forwards. Babcock had one reason for that.

"Darren Helm. And it doesn't look like we're getting him back anytime soon," he said after practice.

Helm hasn't skated since injuring his back again on January 26. He has played in only one game this year.

The team's depth on defense has been straining as Niklas Kronwall and Kyle Quincey are the only blueliners to play in all eight games this season.

Brendan Smith, who Babcock said has been "a good player for us," told reporters he expects to miss three-four weeks with a shoulder injury. Carlo Colaiacovo is out of the lineup for at least another two weeks, Jakub Kindl sat out the team's first three games due to a groin pull, and Jonathan Ericsson missed three games after stepping on a puck and injuring his shoulder.

Ian White expects to be back this week after cutting his leg in the team's home opener against Dallas. Babcock didn't know if he'd be ready on Tuesday.

Between the pipes, Jimmy Howard has played in every game thus far, and Babcock said he needs a break -- soon.

"It's not like I have options, but I should have rested him in Columbus," he said.

Jonas Gustavsson has been nursing a nagging groin, and the team hasn't cleared Joey MacDonald to practice. Mrazek, who was named the AHL's Player of the Week for a 2-0 record and a 0.50 GAA last week, could start later this week.

The good news? Five of the team's next six games are at home. The second half of the schedule is filled with road games out West, so the importance in piling up wins is imperative.

"This is a veteran team. If I didn't think we could (win), I wouldn't be here," Jordin Tootoo said.

"Every day is like the playoffs."

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradGalli.

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