The Malik Report
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
It’s a calm that’s been passed down, a poise the youngest Red Wings are absorbing. It doesn’t matter if they’re facing a Lightning team that was a popular pick to come out of the Eastern Conference, one loaded with offensive talent including one of the best pure goal scorers on the planet in Steven Stamkos.
It doesn’t matter that there’s an inexperienced goalie or that the Lightning looked like they were going to run Detroit out of the building at times at Tampa Bay.
The veterans on the Red Wings know how the postseason works. Get home. Make adjustments. Get the matchups you want and, especially when you can add an important player like Justin Abdelkader back in the lineup, things will turn.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was prescient in his Tuesday morning observation that he felt his team had more to give. On Tuesday night, we got to see what it looked like when they gave it.
Detroit’s 3-0 win in Game 3 was a near-perfect performance by the Red Wings, who capitalized on every advantage that came with the series shifting back to Detroit. Their 23-year-old goalie, Petr Mrazek, stopped all 22 shots he faced, including a Brian Boyle breakaway in the third period that would have cut a two-goal lead in half.
Among the things that didn't fit in the recap:
- First and foremost, I didn't post the press release as the game was underway, but Pavel Datsyuk did indeed earn yet another Lady Byng nomination, and he'll be battling Anze Kopitar and Jiri Hudler to take home his fifth Byng as the league's most gentlemanly player;
- On the other side of the Atlantic, Axel Holmstrom registered an assist but Skelleftea AIK lost 4-2 to the Vaxjo Lakers, and the SHL's defending champs now trail the SHL final 3 games to 2;
- Back over on this side of the pond, as the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar reported, construction began IMMEDIATELY after Detroit's City Council approved Olympia Development's proposal to tear down one historic hotel and restore another as part of the rezoning of the arena district, and WXYZ did a better job of summarizing the nuances than I could:
- And in the FYI department, from the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson:
The start time for Game 5 may be announced on Wednesday. Though Sportsnet had as 7 p.m. start on its broadcast schedule, that is not official. Either a 3 p.m. or 8 p.m. start time is expected with the game likely being broadcast on NBC.
As I said in the quick take, I didn't think that the Red Wings were exactly dominant in authoring a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but I thought that, perhaps for the first time in a month, the Wings played demonstratively, displaying poise, aggressiveness and perhaps a little bit of swagger while informing the Lightning and the rest of the hockey world that Detroit won't be an "easy out" this spring.
The Wings got their share of goalpost luck (exchanging them pretty evenly with the Bolts), and there were times that the Wings most certainly bowed and bent, but when they did, Petr Mrazek was there, and when you combine clutch goaltending with strong special teams play (albeit far too much time on the penalty-kill) and timely scoring, you're going to earn that all-important Game 3-in-a-tied-series win.
Just as delightfully, I can tell you that the Tampa Bay Lightning had to work very hard to contain their frustration while speaking with the Bolts' scribes, and given their ability to drive the Wings utterly batty during both the regular season and playoffs, it's nice to find the skate on the other foot.
This is most definitely different, via RedWingsFeed: NHL.com got access to the Wings' locker room to show the Red Wings betstowing the team "shovel" to their most valuable player(s) from Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning:
The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning played for one objective on Tuesday night; they played for control of their first-round series, and given that 2/3rds of Game 3 winners in a tied series advance to the next round, the Wings and Lightning had more than enough motivation to earn a big "W."
The Red Wings didn't necessarily play dominant hockey, and while the Wings won 3-0--getting balanced goal-scoring, a remarkably stout set of penalty-killing work by the Glendenings and Millers and Anderssons and Helms, fantastic goaltending from Petr Mrazek--this really felt more like an even-up, if not an announcement that THESE Wings are finally READY for prime time, than a series-killer.
That's just fine and dandy. Series-killing games don't have to feel like they were easy. They have to feel like wins, and Detroit demonstratively showed Tampa Bay that, put simply, it ain't gonna take five games to take out this Wings team. Detroit is in charge now, and now the Wings have to work on building their lead come Thursday.
via the Detroit Red Wings,
The opening video played In-Arena for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena.
My sense about Jeff Blashill's situation has always been that while he most certainly wants to become an NHL coach someday, Blashill is also damn proud of the absolutely crucial role he plays as the Grand Rapids Griffins' coach, and as both a Michigan native and someone who bounced around quite a bit, he seems to appreciate the stability of his job and especially the prospect-development nature thereof.
According to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, Blashill has not spoken to the Red Wings about possibly succeeding Mike Babcock, and that's not surprising:
He addressed the question Saturday: "I don't spend much time thinking about it. I'm flattered (to be linked to every opening). I got a great family. My wife loves me and they (Red Wings) like me enough they keep me here. The rest of this doesn't matter. I'm coaching in Detroit. I love coaching in Detroit."
Meanwhile, the 41-year-old Blashill signed a three-year extension last June that keeps him with the organization. His family, including three young children with wife Erica, lives in East Grand Rapids."
I've been mentioning that tonight's Red Wings game starts at 7 PM, not 7:30, but in case you've forgotten, the Red Wings issued a reminder this afternoon, mentioning the issues surrounding a Tigers-and-Wings combined game night:
FANS ENCOURAGED TO ARRIVE EARLY FOR TONIGHT’S RED WINGS HOME PLAYOFF OPENER AT JOE LOUIS ARENA
... Playoff Pregame Show Set to Begin Promptly at 7 p.m., Puck Drop at 7:11 p.m. …
DETROIT – Red Wings fans are advised to arrive early to Joe Louis Arena for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lighting set for 7 p.m., as heavy traffic is expected downtown with a Tigers game at Comerica Park also scheduled for 7 p.m. and a conference at Cobo Hall. Tonight’s playoff pregame show will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:50 p.m. Doors to The Joe open at 5:30 p.m. with puck drop scheduled for 7:11 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to park at off-site locations and utilize shuttle services to arrive at Joe Louis Arena. The following local area bars offer pre-game and post-game park and shuttle services.
Updated 10x at 2:54 PM: The Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) hoping to take a 2 games-to-1 series lead on home ice, and the morning skate revealed "no changes" for either team--save the Wings re-inserting Justin Abdelkader and Brendan Smith, anyway.
Normally we skip Tweets in this entry, but these Tweets from the Free Press's George Sipple are worth noting:
TBL F Brian Boyle on Wings G Petr Mrazek: "I think he's a battler. I don't pay too much attention to what goalies do...but he's a battler."
More Boyle on Mrazek: "Jimmy Howard's a great goaltender, so this kid must be playing pretty well to have the reins right now." #Wings
Via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press spoke with Justin Abdelkader after the morning skate...
Here's an FYI from WWJ Newsradio 950:
"The Mitten” might be home to Hockeytown with the Detroit Red Wings, but an Upper Peninsula city is vying to become Hockeyville USA.
The Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie has made it into the final four as a Kraft Hockeyville USA finalist for the chance to host a NHL pre-season game and win $150,000 in rink upgrades.
“It is so exciting! We are just exploding up here from the excitement,” Linda Hoats, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau, told WWJ’s Beth Fisher.
Pullar Stadium, home to the minor league Eagles hockey team, is the only Michigan arena in the finals — and they need your help to win.
Fans can cast their vote for Pullar Stadium until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, April 22 by texting the keyword “PULLAR” to 35350, by calling 1-855-255-5975 or online at http://www.krafthockeyville.com Each .person can vote up to 50 times per method per day.
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.