Detroit — Maybe it was good karma for Daniel Alfredsson.
The Red Wings forward returned to the lineup Friday against a team he has feasted on during his career: the Canadiens.
“I haven’t thought about it that way,” said Alfredsson, who had one assist in Friday’s 4-1 victory over Montreal, setting up Henrik Zetterberg’s power-play goal, and now has 106 points (31 goals) in 90 career games against Montreal. “You just come back as quick as possible.”
Alfredsson, who missed the last six games with an inflamed back, had several good practices this week, proving he was ready to go.
“It’s been real good the last three days of skating; no issues,”Alfredsson said. “I’m ready to go.”
Alfredsson’s return bumped forward Todd Bertuzzi out of the lineup. Alfredsson joined the line centered by Darren Helm, with Daniel Cleary on the opposite wing.
“He’s a huge presence,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said of Alfredsson’s return. “We’re a better team with him. Just his poise with the puck, his leadership in the room, just the way he plays and how smart he is.”
Bertuzzi has been in a prolonged slump, scoring one goal in his last 27 games, and has a team-worst minus-16 rating.
Forward Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) has been skating on his own and is optimistic he’ll return Feb. 26.
“I’m really amazed at how fast this thing goes,” said Weiss, who had surgery in mid-December. “You go from feeling terrible to skating not long after that. I was walking on a treadmill about 10 days ago and now I’ve been on the ice five days in a row. It progresses pretty quickly.”
Weiss is hopeful he’ll be able to get into a few practices beginning next week.
... Forward Joakim Andersson (lower body) and goaltender Jimmy Howard (left knee) took part in Friday’s morning skate and could return soon.
Howard is eyeing a return Tuesday in Philadelphia.
“We knew it wasn’t as serious as before,” Howard said of his injury. “It’s coming along good. It felt good out there in a controlled setting.”
The return dates for forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) and Johan Franzen (concussion) are unknown.
The return of Alfredsson, as hoped, had a positive effect on a struggling power play, with Zetterberg scoring in the first period with the man advantage.
Entering Friday’s game, the Red Wings were 2-for-36 the last 10 games. They were 1-for-5 against the Canadiens.
“(Alfredsson’s) shot on the power play is deadly,” Kronwall said. “We need some help in that area.”
... Defenseman Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.