Winning games and securing points in the standings is crucial for the Red Wings these days.

Adding a player like Henrik Zetterberg can help earn victories, which makes his probable return Friday against Washington a huge plus.

Zetterberg participated in Thursday’s practice and expressed optimism he could return against the Capitals. He has missed the last two games with back issues, although not exactly related to the problem in mid-December which forced him to miss 11 games.

“It’s different, but in the area,” said Zetterberg, whose return would strengthen a lineup that was shut out Tuesday in Philadelphia and a power play that’s sinking fast. “We’ll just have to see. We’re doing everything we can so it doesn’t get any worse. Hopefully it goes on this path and gets better and better.

“It was a good day (Thursday). It was fun to skate again. I skated a little bit (Wednesday). Hopefully I’ll feel good in the morning skate and we’ll go from there.”

Having the back issues return soon after the last episode doesn’t concern Zetterberg at this point.

“Not really,” Zetterberg said. “My concern is for tomorrow night. We have five games here before the break, and that’s what my mindset is.”

Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) both skated Thursday but coach Mike Babcock has already ruled out Datsyuk, who last played Jan. 1 in the Winter Classic.