By Josh Cooper in Nashville
The Detroit Red Wings are getting healthy while the Nashville Predators could be without a big, important addition.
Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said that forward Darren Helm, who hasn't played since March 17 due to a strained MCL, will return to the lineup Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).
"Helmer just puts everyone in the right spot," Babcock said. "We had a great bottom six all year long and then we lost our people and we had no bottom six.
"We had no support scoring."
While talking about Helm, Babcock seemed to take a slight shot at Nashville's bottom two lines.
"It's amazing when you put people in the right spot," Babcock said. "So I look at their team and I see [Nick] Spaling and [Paul] Gaustad in their three and four holes and those are good matchups for us.
"They weren't [good matchups] without [Helm]."
The Predators could be without defenceman Hal Gill. Nashville picked up Gill on Feb. 17. Since he entered the lineup on Feb. 19, the Predators' penalty kill has performed well above its season numbers -- at 89.5 per cent. Gill didn't skate with the team Wednesday morning, and hasn't skated with the team all week.
"He's a big player and a big reach and for sure you have to be aware when he's on the ice because he can reach over you and poke the puck away," Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom said.
Predators head coach Barry Trotz said Gill practised on his own Monday. He said Gill will be a "game-time" decision and that seven defenceman will go for warmups. If Gill can't play, Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis are the two possibilities to enter the lineup.
Ellis, a 2009 first-round pick, is a rookie, while Hillen has played in 230 NHL games.
Both have never played in the post-season.
"I've talked to some of the guys, even when I was in New York, and asked them what it was like," Hillen said. "It's the most fun you'll ever have playing and you'll just never want it to end and you use so much adrenaline, it's just so much fun and that's what I'm really looking forward to."
Expected line combinations:
Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Jiri Hudler
Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Dan Cleary
Gustav Nyquist-Justin Abdelkader-Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom-Jonathan Ericsson
Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Kyle Quincey-Ian White
Sergei Kostitsyn-Mike Fisher-Martin Erat
Andrei Kostitsyn-David Legwand-Alexander Radulov
Gabriel Bourque-Nick Spaling-Patric Hornqvist
Matt Halischuk-Paul Gaustad-Craig Smith
Ryan Suter-Shea Weber
Francis Bouillon-Kevin Klein
Jack Hillen/Hal Gill-Roman Josi
Josh Cooper reports for The Tennessean. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCooper
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