Babcock is making one other change to tonight's lineup, as he's pulling defenseman Kyle Quincey, whom the Wings acquired a week before the trade deadline, and inserting reserve d-man Jakub Kindl. Quincey hasn't had a particularly slick transition since joining the Wings a month ago, but Babcock made a point of saying nothing should be read into this decision other than that he wants everyone to play before the playoffs.
"We have seven D," Babcock said. "We believe we really have depth on D. I told the D before the Columbus game we're going to have a rotation. I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time worrying about that. That's just what I decided to do. I thought Kuba's played great his last five or six games. So you'll see a different guy out next guy."
The Wings got Quincey to shore up their back end, but he ended up having to play a bigger role, even as he was making the transition from Colorado's system to Detroit's, because of injuries to Nicklas Lidstrom and Jonathan Ericsson.
Quincey said he understood the decision. "I'm not surprised. We have seven great D. It is what it is. Obviously, you want to be playing."
The Wings had an optional skate this morning, but the lines for tonight are anticipated to be:
Howard is eager to play after sitting four games. "Today was the day we were targeting," he said. "It's a chance to get back out there and get back into game shape. Tonight is a huge game. It could have huge home-ice implications, so we're going to have to go out there and play our game. Just go out there and do our thing."
In other goalie news, Joey MacDonald said he's doing better after getting a cortisone shot Tuesday to help offset a bulging disk, but it'll take a few more days to even determine determine when he can start skating.