An official checks on the Ducks' Toni Lydman after he was hit by Detroit's… (Julian H. Gonzalez / MCT )
DETROIT – Suspended forward Justin Abdelkader will be out of Detroit’s lineup for the next two games, but the Ducks could be missing injured defenseman Toni Lydman for an even longer period of time.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said as much after Monday’s morning skate here. Game 4 is Monday night and the Ducks lead the playoff series, two games to one.
“He plays a hard game," Boudreau said of Abdelkader. "But he made a mistake and he's paying for it. ... We're probably going to be without our guy for much longer than two games.”
Lydman, who continues to suffer from headaches and a sore neck, was at Joe Louis Arena but declined to meet with reporters. Abdelkader received a five-minute major for charging and an automatic game misconduct for the hit on Lydman late in the second period of Game 3. Brendan Shanahan, the league’s chief disciplinarian, on Sunday suspended Abdelkader for two games.
“I'd like to reiterate with the hit Saturday there was no intent to injure,” Abdelkader said. “I don't mean to injure anybody, put anybody in harm. I have respect for all the players in this hockey league. ... I play a hard game. I play physical and it's a fast game.
“Things happen really fast out there. I hope he's back -- right away, and he's not injured. It was an unfortunate play.”
He said he has found sleep elusive since the incident.
“It's going to be tough,” Abdelkader said. “You want to be out there helping your team out, doing whatever you can to get the wins. It's unfortunate. I feel bad already about the effect it had on the last game, maybe it was a turning point, I don't know.
“I felt bad about it already, and now I have to sit. It's going to be tough, but I'll be there to support, be the biggest cheerleader I can.”
His spot on the Red Wings’ No. 1 line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg is expected to be filled by Mikael Samuelsson. Detroit Coach Mike Babcock also said that Todd Bertuzzi could be used in that spot, too.
With Lydman out, Sheldon Souray will return for Game 4 for the Ducks. He was paired with defenseman Francois Beauchemin during the morning skate. It also looked as though Bobby Ryan would be back with his usual linemates, center Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
“He [Abdelkader] brought an element of speed,” said Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy. “He brought physicality. And he made those other two guys better.
“We’re not sure who will be on the wing with them. Both of those players are proven top-line NHL guys. When we find out, we’ll hopefully be able to do a good job against them.”
Lydman had two concussions in less than a month in 2004 when he played for the Calgary Flames. He had issues with headaches and migraines in his tenure with the Ducks. His presence will be difficult to replace in the playoffs.
“He is always in the way,” Lovejoy said. “He is always in position to be a physical body. Guys are just trying to get to the net, guys are trying to make passes and he’s there to block the body. He’s really been a difference-maker for us certainly the last part of the season.
“We have a pretty good luxury of having one of our best defensemen step right back in. Shelly’s [Souray] been a stud for us, all year. He will step right in and not miss a beat.”
Souray will have to strike the right balance of aggression and staying out of the penalty box, an issue for him in Game 2.
“It’s the playoffs and maybe some of those calls -- well, not maybe, for sure -- those calls weren’t called during the regular season,” Souray said. “You just have to realize that it’s different. It’s going to be more … things are going to be looked at closer especially now with what happened with the suspension. The refs are going to be watching not only us be the games closer, you’ve seen Ottawa and Montreal last night.
“Officiating is going to be … probably the memo’s out that they’re going to try to clean up that. It doesn’t mean you can’t play hard and can’t play an aggressive game. Just gotta do it with some control and smarts.”
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Red Wings' top line takes big hit with suspension of Abdelkader
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