Jonas Gustavsson has been out of the lineup since the Red Wings' 4-3 win over Florida on Dec. 28, missing the last nine games. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
Detroit — Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday that Jonas Gustavsson will be in goal Wednesday night when the Wings host the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena.
Gustavsson is returning from a groin injury. He replaces Jimmy Howard, who re-injured his left knee during Monday night's 4-1 loss to the Blues. Howard is expected to be out at least a week.
"We'd like to lean on him, for sure," said Babcock of Gustavsson, who has a 11-3-2 record with a 2.39 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. "We'd like him to stay healthy so he can do that. That's been the biggest thing with him, not his play, but whether he's been healthy enough to play."
On Howard's condition, Babcock replied: "He's injured and I imagine what they'll do is reassess him in a week. That means he's not playing tomorrow."
Howard’s focus is less on the Olympics and more on getting back to help the Red Wings.
"Fluid's back on the knee, and hopefully it gets out of there fast," Howard said. "It's definitely not as serious as last time. It's frustrating. You're moving in the right direction and doing the right things. I guess it's bad luck."
Gustavsson has been out of the lineup since the Red Wings’ 4-3 win over Florida Dec. 28, missing the last nine games.
"I've been doing good for a few days now," Gustavsson said. "We wanted to maybe take a couple of more days to make sure I got some good practices in and see how my body reacted to it, and it's been good so far and hopefully it can stay that way so I can be on the ice instead of off of it."
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said he is also ready to return.
"There's a chance Jonathan Ericsson can play," Babcock said.
Ericsson, who has a plus-9 — second-best on the team — has been out of the lineup since Dec. 23 with a rib injury.
Blackhawks at Red Wings
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Where: Joe Louis Arena
TV / radio: NBCSN / 97.1 FM
Notable: The Red Wings will try to go 2-1 on their current five-game homestand after suffering a 4-1 loss to the Kings Monday. The Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are 12-2-4 against Eastern Conference teams and have lost just once (5-1-4) in their last 10 games.