Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2012 [Print without images]

Monday, April 9, 2012
Updated: April 10, 11:01 AM ET
Dan Cleary in; Darren Helm unsure

By Craig Custance
ESPN The Magazine

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings continue to get players back from injury as their postseason gets set to start on Wednesday in Nashville. Forward Dan Cleary, who sat out the final two games of the regular season to rest an injured knee, said he will play in Game 1. Forward Darren Helm (MCL sprain) continues to practice and said he is targeting Game 2 of the first-round series although coach Mike Babcock hasn't completely ruled out Game 1.

"He skated three days before. You'd never know by watching him practice he's hurt at all," Babcock said. "He might tell you he doesn't feel great. I just saw him out there with other NHL players, and he looked good to me."

Cleary has a tear in his knee and will have surgery after the season to fix it. He said he's feeling about 50 percent but said painkillers and the adrenaline that come with playing in the postseason should help boost that number.

He has bone-on-bone rubbing in his knee which has caused significant swelling when he's on the ice. He's getting his knee drained every 10 days.

"I'm going to have to find a way to get through it," Cleary said. "Do the best I can and find a way to contribute."

Helm's recovery from a knee injury continues to progress and while he remains questionable for the series opener, he called Game 2 a probability. He hasn't played since spraining his knee on March 17 against the Sharks.

Getting Helm back is a necessity for the Red Wings, who could use his speed and contributions on the penalty kill against a Predators power play that finished No. 1 in the league at 21.6 percent.

"You want real good depth and you want your third and fourth line going," Babcock said. "That's why we need Helm back. Helm seems to be the key to that bottom six."