Red Wings Down Wild, Lose Cleary to Fractured Ankle

The Detroit Red Wings cruised to a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild Sunday night but their already-depleted forward ranks took another blow.

After blocking a shot from Brad Stuart in the third period, Danny Cleary will miss four weeks with a fractured ankle. Cleary returned to play after blocking the shot and appeared to be fine but the extent of the injury wasn’t known until after the game.

With the Red Wings already missing Mike Modano until March and Pavel Datsyuk for a month, Jan Mursak was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Cleary figured into the game’s scoring, notching the eventual game winning goal at 8:59 of the first period when he threw a shot from the right corner on goal. It deflected off goalie Niklas Backstrom and into the net.

Henrik Zetterberg had opened the scoring 4:28 into the game on a similar play from the left side.

Kris Draper scored his first of the year at 5:30 of the second, tipping a Niklas Kronwall shot past Backstrom from the left faceoff circle to extend Detroit’s lead to 3-0.

Tomas Holmstrom wrapped up the Red Wings’ scoring on the power play with 6:30 left in the period, knocking home the rebound of a chance by Zetterberg.

Brent Burns scored on the power play with 3:40 left to play to break up Jimmy Howard‘s shutout bid.

Howard stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced while Backstrom made 23 saves on 27 shots.

Both teams went one-for-six on the power play.

Mursak will join the team for Monday’s matchup in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.

Jakub Kindl was in the Detroit lineup for the first time since returning from his conditioning stint with the Griffins. He took the place of Ruslan Salei, who was given an extra day off by the team to spend with his California-based family for the holidays.

Red Wings – Wild Pregame Notes

The Red Wings visit the Minnesota Wild tonight, looking to rebound from their 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues before the two-day Christmas break.

Rebounding has been a common theme for Detroit, as they’ve had a tendency to follow a bad game with a good one, only to revert to poor form the following game.

Jakub Kindl is back in the lineup, replacing Ruslan Salei. Salei was allowed to stay with his family for an extra day as they’ve remained in California this season and he’s been away from them most of that time. Kindl is fresh off an eight-game conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, during which he scored a goal and added four assists.

Jimmy Howard gets the start for the Red Wings. Niklas Backstrom is expected to get the nod for the Wild.