Abdelkader uncertain for Red Wings' playoff opener

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Justin Abdelkader isn't an oddsmaker

So when asked to assess the chances of him returning to the Red Wings lineup for Game 1 on Thursday against the Lightning, he wouldn't put a percentage on it.

"We'll see, day-by-day (the hand) feels better," the forward said. "I've progressed and it feels better.

"With any kind of injury it's not going to go from one to 10 right away. There are numbers in between. It feels better, so we'll see how it progresses."

Abdelkader missed the last four games after getting struck by a slap shot. He skated on his own late last week, and Monday was limited.

"I'm doing everything I can to rush back and get back as soon as I can," Abdelkader said.

Getting Abdelkader back would be a huge benefit for the Red Wings.

His size and scoring ability (career-high 23 goals) would be crucial against Tampa Bay, and also would determine if coach Mike Babcock splits Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg or plays the two on the same line.

Marchenko, Ferraro are in

Goaltender Petr Mrazek isn't the only former Grand Rapids player to make the Red Wings playoff lineup.

Babcock said defenseman Alexey Marchenko and forward Landon Ferraro both will be active for Game 1.

Marchenko has played 13 games with the Red Wings, and Ferraro scored his first NHL in te finale against the Hurricanes.

Marchenko was paired with defenseman Danny DeKeyser during practice.

Ferraro's speed and defensive ability is a good matchup against Tampa Bay's speed and offensive depth.

Ice chips

Forward Darren Helm (sick) missed practice, but Babcock was hopeful he will return today.

... Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, on the added depth for the Red Wings: "The more guys you have pushing for a spot, the better your team is going to play because it just pushes everyone even further to be even better."