Wings' Ericsson shrugs off sore shoulder, ready to play

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News

Detroit — High-scoring Jiri Hudler leads the Flames against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena tonight, and Jonathan Ericsson's shoulder feels good enough for him to allow him to play.

"I told them I am in," he said. "I just hurt my shoulder, a little bit, and to give me a better chance to play we decided to take yesterday off, and give it a better chance to heal-up better."

Ericsson, who participated in the optional skate today, said he was injured Wednesday in the first period of the 2-1 overtime victory against the Rangers.

"I think was just actually battling with someone and you push off with your loose hand out of position a little bit and you just kind of strain some muscles."

Hudler, nicknamed "The Happy Hudler" by many in Detroit for his smiley nature, contributed 214 points (87 goals, 127 assists) in nine seasons (2003-04 and 2010-12) with the Red Wings. He spent 2009-10 with Moscow Dynamo.

He leads the Flames current roster with his 52 points and 31 assists. His 21 goals is second, behind Sean Monahan (23).

Jimmy Howard will start tonight for the Wings.

They enter the game with 83 points, three behind the Lightning and five behind the Canadiens. But the Wings have played four fewer games than Tampa Bay and three fewer than Monreal.

They have a 13-point lead over the first team out of the wild-card positions in the Eastern Conference, the Panthers.

Mike Babcock held an optional skate, today, and a few veterans did not participate.