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Veteran forward Dan Cleary was inserted into the lineup in his place.
Zetterberg has also missed time this season with a back injury and the Red Wings are already without star forward Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) and Olympic goalie Jimmy Howard (knee), among others, on a team hit hard by injuries.
In 40 games this season, Zetterberg has a team-best 16 goals and 44 points. His plus-19 also leads the team.
The Red Wings did get forward Johan Franzen back in the lineup Sunday, after the big Swede missed 16 games while recovering from a concussion.
Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg was a surprise scratch for Sunday's game against the Florida Panthers. According to the team, he's out with an upper body injury.