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Red Wings will be without Cleary, Howard this weekend

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 08: at Joe Louis Arena on November 8, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Gregory Shamus

The Detroit Red Wings could tie the NHL’s all-time record for consecutive home wins with 20 this weekend, but they’ll need to do it without two important pieces.

Ansar Khan reports that the team will be without workhorse goalie Jimmy Howard and underrated scorer Danny Cleary for what could be a historic weekend. The team will re-evaluate the two players next week.

Howard is dealing with a broken finger that has prompted the Red Wings to give mixed signals. GM Ken Holland says that it’s the type of thing that takes 4-6 weeks to heal yet Howard claims he’s day-to-day, so expect more twists and turns with his situation.

Khan reports that Cleary is expected to get his knee drained, which should sideline him for the next two games. The bigger question is whether or not he’ll get a shot in that knee; if so, the timeline seems to be three-to-five days.

Both injuries seem rather tricky, and with the Red Wings on top of the league, you’d think the franchise would err on the side of caution (especially with Howard). That being said, the St. Louis Blues and rest of the Central Division still looms large, so perhaps there’s a worry that missing a beat will mute Detroit’s chances.

(H/T to George Malik.)