Time is running out for the Red Wings to get healthy.

Only seven games remain in the regular season after Saturday night's home win against the Hurricanes, and the Wings desperately are hoping to get some of their regular starters back before the playoffs.

One of the most crucial missing players is goaltender Jimmy Howard, who faced shots during Saturday's morning skate for the first time since he reinjured his groin in Monday's loss to Washington.

"He hurt his groin and he missed some time, and now he's hurt it again," coach Mike Babcock said. "I imagine we're extra cautious with him. And yet Howie's got to get playing and got to get playing lots of games.

"No. 1, we've got to get in the playoffs. And No. 2, you've got to be ready to play at a top level. You can't win without your goalie being good, so it's important that Howie gets going."

The injury especially was frustrating for Howard because it came unexpectedly. He missed three games with a groin injury recently, then returned on the West Coast trip when they lost, 5-2, to Los Angeles on March 13. He played in the overtime loss at San Jose on March 17, then reinjured himself Monday against the Capitals.