Henrik Zetterberg summed up how his teammates feel: It’s going to be fun to play again.

As much as the Red Wings have enjoyed the five days between Saturday’s game at Boston and tonight’s home date against Phoenix the Coyotes are a welcome sight.

“It’s almost like we’re starting the season over again after three-in-four” Zetterberg said Wednesday.

Having no game Wednesday gave Zetterberg an opportunity to celebrate his 33rd birthday. Having Monday and Tuesday off meant an opportunity to attend both Tigers playoff games at Comerica Park.

The downtime was especially good for Jordin Tootoo who has been cleared to play after being sidelined by a bruised shoulder. He won’t crack the lineup tonight however as coach Mike Babcock said the only substitution he’s making is Mikael Samuelsson replacing Tomas Tatar.

Goalie Jimmy Howard used Wednesday’s practice to debut the pink-ribbon-painted helmet he’ll wear Saturday against the Flyers as part of the Wings’ participation in the NHL’s breast cancer awareness month activities. Pink items worn by players will be auctioned off later on the NHL’s website. “My way of trying to help out” Howard said.

He’s anticipating a good test first against the Coyotes because: “Every single time we play Phoenix” Howard said “it’s a very extremely well-fought game. They play their systems very well.”

The Coyotes are smarting from two straight losses that saw them outscored 10-2. Even so Mike Smith is considered a top goaltender and Radim Vrbata already has three goals and four points. Young stars on the team include defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Mikkel Boedker.

“I’ve seen him play for Denmark a few times now” Zetterberg said of Boedker. “He is one of their best players. He is strong skates well and he has an eye for the goals.”