Wings' Abdelkader out 2-4 weeks with strained MCL
Detroit — Justin Abdelkader joined a lengthening list of injured Red Wings unable to play after leaving Thursday's game against the Panthers with an apparent injury to his right leg.
Abdelkader will miss two to four weeks of action with a “slightly strained MCL,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
The Wings are likely to recall a forward from Grand Rapids, although Jeff Blashill said after the game Thursday that Drew Miller, a healthy scratch in recent games, would fill in for Abdelkader in the short term.
Two road games, against the Penguins and Islanders, are on tap for this weekend, before the Red Wings travel to Winnipeg for a game against the Jets, Wednesday.
Abdelkader’s injury occurred during a check on the Panthers’ high-scoring forward Vincent Trocheck at about 6:40 of the first period.
Abdelkader left the ice in obvious pain, remained on the bench briefly and did not return to the game.
He was seen leaving the Red Wings dressing room walking on his own, favoring his right leg.
With four goals, Abdelkader is tied for third on the team with Mike Green, Gustav Nyquist, Thomas Vanek, Andreas Athanasiou and Darren Helm.
His eight points puts him sixth, tied with Dylan Larkin.
Abdelkader joins six other injured Red Wings: forwards Athanasiou (knee, Nov. 12), Tyler Bertuzzi (ankle, Nov. 29) and Helm (shoulder, Nov. 15) and the defensemen Alexey Marchenko (shoulder, Nov. 23) and Brendan Smith (knee, Nov. 29) and goalie Jimmy Howard (groin, Nov. 26).
Athanasiou, Howard and Marchenko will likely miss at least another week, perhaps two; Bertuzzi is likely out three to five weeks; Smith will likely miss at least a month; and Helm is out until sometime in January.
Challenged for points through much of the season, the Red Wings are 11-10-3, with 25 of a possible 48 points on the season.
The trend for decades in the NHL is about 75 to 80 percent of the teams out of the playoffs at Thanksgiving do not qualify to play for the Stanley Cup.
The World Cup of Hockey delayed the start of the season by about a week. And on Friday, eight days after Thanksgiving, the Wings are two points behind the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division and two points behind the Lightning for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
After a 6-2 start to the season, the Red Wings went 2-9-1 before taking eight points out of a possible 10 in a recent 3-0-2 stretch.