Wings' 'workhorse' Glendening OK'd to play Saturday

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Luke Glendening's line was a plus-5 going into Game 6.

Detroit — There was one piece of good news already for the Red Wings heading into Saturday's Game 5.

Luke Glendening, who suffered a cut hand midway in the third period, and whose absence was felt deeply, will play Saturday, Wings general manager Ken Holland said.

Glendening didn't return to Game 4 and with Glendening's line not intact the Lightning's Triplet Line — Tyler Johnson centering Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov — skated wild.

Johnson scored twice, including the overtime winner, and set up Palat for the tying goal.

Glendening didn't practice Friday but was optimistic after the loss he'd be in the lineup.

"Nothing too serious. It's good," Glendening said.

It's not feasible to entirely pinpoint the Game 4 defeat on the loss of one player for the final seven minutes of regulation time and 2:25 of overtime.

But not having Glendening was a significant loss, as both teams acknowledged.

"He's been great for us this year the way he plays," said Gustav Nyquist, noting Glendening's hard-nosed defensive work. "He's a workhorse and it was tough to see him go down."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper has coached against Glendening in the American League and now in the NHL and understands the importance of such a player.

"I don't know how to describe him (Glendening), he's an extremely responsible player and there's not a lot of guys out there like the Glendenings," Cooper said. "He's done a heck of a job on our guys and they lost a player that plays an extremely important role for them.

"You look back now and we came back to win a game so it was potentially a huge factor."

Back to Grand Rapids

Forward Teemu Pulkkinen was reassigned to Grand Rapids.

Pulkkinen was a healthy scratch the first four games of this series. In 31 games with the Red Wings, Pulkkinen have five goals and three assists.

This should be a nice addition for the Griffins, who open their AHL playoffs Saturday in Toronto.

Pulkkinen, despite missing most of the second half of the season (he was in the NHL), led the AHL with 34 goals in 46 games.

No need to worry

Goalie Petr Mrazek was ready to shake off Thursday's loss almost immediately.

Mrazek hadn't allowed the Lightning a goal at Joe Louis Arena for 174 minutes, 34 seconds, then saw the Lightning score three in just under eight minutes.

"It's a hockey game," Mrazek said. "Who scores more goals wins and they scored three, we had two. Nothing we can do about it, anymore. Just think about it for the next game."

Babcock didn't feel any of the goals were Mrazek's fault.

"I don't know what he was supposed to do," Babcock said. "That's the problem with the plays. We made the mistakes ourselves. He was fine. I didn't think he was tested a ton. He was fine."