Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski made his return from knee surgery on Monday night against the Coyotes. In his first game since Oct. 9, Rafalski recorded an assist and 15:18 of ice time. His assist actually came on a goal scored by Dan Cleary only 1:40 into the game, so it didn't take long for Rafalski to make an impact.
Rafalski was forced to miss almost a month of action after having arthroscopic knee surgery back on Oct. 12. He finally was able to return to practice last week and then obviously got into game action on Monday, playing in a little more than 15 minutes of the game.
Rafalski was paired with Jonathan Ericsson on the third line for Monday's game against the Coyotes, which the Wings won in overtime, 3-2. Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch with Rafalski coming back. Mike Babcock opted to put Nicklas Lidstrom with Brad Stuart on the first defensive line and Niklas Kronwall with Ruslan Salei on the second line. I would imagine Rafalski will work his way up the pairings pretty quickly, as he was only on the third line on Monday because it was unclear just how much he could play. As he gets back into playing shape, I'd expect Babcock to move him to the second line, if not the first line with Lidstrom.