The Malik Report
Per Hooked on Hockey Magazine's Kevin Sporka and Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock passed Scotty Bowman on the Wings' all-time coaching wins list via Detroit's 3-2 win over Tampa Bay, and Babcock now only trails Jack Adams (413 wins) as the Wings' second-winningest coach:
Here's what the Wild Card standings look like after Detroit defeated Tampa Bay 3-2 on Sunday evening:
The Detroit Red Wings absolutely, positively HAD to win both of their weekend games, and despite the fact that the Wings gave up a predictably fan-terrifying 3rd period goal against to make the game very close, Detroit closed out Radko "All Elbows" Gudas, Valtteri Filppula, Ryan Callahan, Steven Stamkos and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lightning via a 3-2 score, making the Bolts look at least human along the way--all during a game that really serves as a shining example of the shit-show that's become of the NHL's standard of officiating (or the lack thereof) since the Olympic break.
As you might expect, the Red Wings started with some slightly heavy legs and gave up the game's first goal, allowing Valtteri Filppula to steal the puck and flick a sneaky shot past Jonas Gustavsson (who, save the 3-2 goal, was excellent) 8:40 into the game...
Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist may have cemented his status as the NHL's First Star of the Month for March with this wonderful second-effort goal after getting thoroughly TSA-patted-down by Matt Carle but still managing to score on Ben Bishop:
Or if you are a .gif person, from MyRegularFace:
The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning aren't holdig game-day skates ahead of today's kind-of-sort-of matinee game (5 PM EDT on FSD, Sun Sports ,97.1 FM), but we know that Jonas Gustavsson will start today, per DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...
And it's going to be interesting to see which player might sit to accommodate the return of a player the Free Press's Helene St. James reports will rejoin the lineup this afternoon:
I'm not up to full speed yet (had a bit of setback), but I really adored this quip from a certain coach who, you and I have been told, both wanted Daniel Cleary back and did indeed tell the media that the "veterans" would win roster battles by default when some five-and-a-half months ago--made after the Wings' 4-2 win over Toronto, to the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan, and said almost in passing after discussing Darren Helm's hat trick (scoresheet here for Curly Fries):
“You look at [David] Bolland for them,” Babcock said. “Bolland is not close to the player he normally is. You miss the whole year, you come back, you are not quite the player. Whether it is conditioning, timing, just feeling good ... Helmer had a big night. It helps his confidence and it helps us. Can (Helm) get his game back? I am sure. I don’t know how long it is going to take.
“Injuries are a part of hockey. We have been devastated this year, no question about it. But we found all these kids, and we are better for it going ahead, and that is a positive thing. We have had a lot of fun doing it.”
If you want to read Helm's teammates' take on his game, MLive's Ansar Khan provides for your needs...
It took the Red Wings a full period to pull their heads out of their asses--after dropping 3 straight games--but the boys in red, the boys of the terrible power play and self-defeating tendencies and baffling drop pass syndrome--managed to both rid themselves of some bad habits, put the Maple Leafs out of the playoff hunt and at least keep pace with those Gosh-Dang-*#$%@& Blue Jackets in the Wild Card race, eventually defeating Toronto 4-2 thanks to a hat trick by Darren Helm, a superb 26-save performance by Jimmy Howard and Brendan Smith, and display of grit between the ears that I truly thought had left the team sometime after the trade deadline.
The Wings now have to go home and try to beat Valtteri Filppula's speedy Bolts, who defeated Buffalo 4-3 on Dominik Hasek jersey retirement night, and the Wings still have to win the majority of their 8 games remaining to hope to both keep pace with Columbus (which owns the regulation or OT win tiebreaker with 33 to Detroit's 29) and stay ahead of Washington (80 points and 25 ROWs to the Wings' 29) in the Wild Card Race...
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Wings are focused on getting off to a good start - something they failed to do Thursday against Montreal - and on playing tighter defensively after allowing nine goals the last two games.
“You can’t give up as many goals as we’ve been giving up and have success,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We’ve got to be better on the back end, better in net, and obviously more efficient up front.”
Helm has been moved up to the top line because Legwand has struggled the past stretch; the hope is Helm can use his speed to help his talented wingers. “We just want him to play simple hockey, take care of the puck, and get on the forecheck,” Babcock said. “The guys he’s playing with are different type of players that he normally plays with, but the reality is, he’s just got to do his job.”
Smith, a native of the area who estimated he’d have a dozen people at the game, laughed when asked after the morning skate how dangerous the Leafs might be.
“Extremely dangerous,” he said. “It’s like that wounded bear that you can’t put down for the last little bit, and they have a lot of extra power. You’ve got to make sure that you come out hard, because right now, it’s kind of do-or-die for them. It’s going to be a very difficult game.
“Everything I hear on the radio, it’s ruthless. It’ll be interesting to see what the atmosphere is like, and it’s going to be fun. It’s such a big game.”
And at this point in time, the only news coming out of Toronto after the Wings skated today. Via Khan,
Abdelkader (leg laceration) said he feels much better and there's a chance he could play tomorrow vs. Tampa Bay.
Jim Hughson of Hockey Night in Canada on the Detroit Red Wings.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.