Red Wings' Zetterberg aims for return in playoffs

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm •  Published: March 26, 2014
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DETROIT (AP) — Henrik Zetterberg wants to play in the playoffs.

"That's the goal," Zetterberg said Wednesday, speaking to reporters for the first time since he had back surgery Feb 21.

The Detroit Red Wings hope to give their captain what he wants, but they've got work to do.

Detroit would be in its 23rd straight postseason if the regular season ended Wednesday, but it is in a logjam for one of two spots in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.

The Red Wings, who have 10 games left in the regular season, will play Montreal on Thursday night at home.

Zetterberg is aiming to return after the playoffs begin April 16.

"I think the timeline is eight weeks without contact," he said. "That's what the doctors say and that's what we're going to stick with, and then we'll re-evaluate after that."

Zetterberg said he felt great when he went to Winter Olympics. After Zetterberg played his one and only game as Sweden's captain, he woke up in pain because a lingering back problem became debilitating. He had surgery about a week later in New York.

"This had to be done," he said. "We went in, took away two pieces from my disc that were pushing on the nerve. Once this is healed and properly rehabbed, I shouldn't have an issue again."

Despite not playing for Detroit since Feb. 8, Zetterberg still leads the team with 48 points.

The Red Wings have been resting Pavel Datsyuk since Feb. 27, hoping it will help his left knee heal enough to help the team late in the regular season and the playoffs if they earn a spot. Datsyuk has been skating this week, but it is not known how longer he will be out.