Johan Franzen is ready, Brendan Smith is, too, and so is Kyle Quincey.

Balance finally looks to be a little bit in their favor as the Red Wings will regain at least one if not more of their injured players tonight when they visit the Kings at Staples Center.

Franzen, who last played Feb. 10 at home against Los Angeles, has recovered from a hip flexor, convenient enough since Valtteri Filppula will miss tonight's game and possibly Thursday's at San Jose because of a sore left shoulder.

Smith was removed from injured reserve Tuesday evening, clearing him to rejoin the lineup for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury Feb. 2. Quincey also is ready after missing two games with a rolled ankle. Smith and Quincey add puck-moving skills to the back end, and Franzen adds size and skill up front.

The ever-changing lineup has made it difficult for the Wings to gain much traction, but they're riding a two-game winning streak as they face the surging Kings.

"They've got good depth, size, good skill level," coach Mike Babcock said of the defending Stanley Cup champions. "They're organized, and they play hard.

"This is a big trip for us. We've played some home games, we haven't played as much on the road. We've got to find a way to win on the road when matchups aren't yours and you go into another building."

Filppula was injured during Sunday's game against Vancouver.

"It's definitely frustrating," he said, "but hopefully it's not too long."

It has gotten to the point that when discussing how Jimmy Howard will start tonight, Babcock prefaced his decision to start Jonas Gustavsson against the Sharks by noting, "if Gus is healthy." Gustavsson (groin) has made just two appearances.

Back home, Darren Helm got the same diagnosis from a specialist in New York that he has gotten from everyone else: He has a strained ligament in his back, and patience remains the prognosis.