The Malik Report
Red Wings prospects took part in two playoff games and one regular-season affair on Sunday:
In the SHL's championship series opener, Axel Holmstrom took 3 shots and played 18:26 but finished at -2 in Skelleftea AIK's 2-1 loss to the Vaxjo Lakers;
And in the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi scored a goal but his Guelph Storm are in a boatload of trouble. The defending OHL champions dropped a 6-1 decision to Sault Ste. Marie, and they trail their second-round series 3 games to 0.
In regular season play, in the ECHL, Jake Paterson stopped 32 of 34 shots for his first pro win and Richard Nedomlel took 14 penalty minutes in the Toledo Walleye's 8-2 win over Kalamazoo. As the Walleye's website notes, this win clinched the ECHL's regular-season title for Toledo:
Landon Ferraro's first NHL goal was a gorgeous wraparound marker scored last night against the Carolina Hurricanes...
And MLive's Ansar Khan reports that Ferraro scored in no small part due to advice from noted goal-scorer...Luke Glendening?
"He kept telling me to go to my backhand as much as possible," Ferraro said. "It's been working for him, so I had to give it a try and it went in."
Ferraro scored his first NHL goal in his seventh career game with the Detroit Red Wings in Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. He converted a nifty wraparound with a backhand shot 48 seconds into the game. It turned out to be the game-winner.
"I don't think I've scored on a wraparound in like three years," Ferraro said. "For me, especially since it's my third game this year, I just wanted to get it to the net, get a rebound chance. Then I saw it against the back (of the net) and I got a little excited after that."
Khan continues, video of Ferraro's comments included, and the question is out there now: does Ferarro "go" on the fourth line come Thursday?
In the series preview category, thus far:
- ESPN's Craig Custance has picked the Lightning to defeat Detroit in 6 games;
- The Hockey News is also picking the Lightning to defeat Detroit in 6 games;
- Sportsnet posited a Wings-Bolts series preview sans a prediction;
- Via RedWingsFeed, WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr. and Derick Hutchinson posited a series preview;
- And NHL.com posted a series preview, an examination of "X-Factors" Vladislav Namestnikov and Marek Zidlicky, an examination of the Wings' goaltending (and the questions surrounding the Mrazek-Howard conundrum) and reasons why the Wings and Bolts can win the Cup.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Babcock said Marchenko will be in the lineup for the Red Wings' playoff opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. The series is expected to start on Thursday.
Marchenko has impressed the Red Wings with his safe, steady style of play and ability to move the puck. They also like his right-handed shot.
Babcock said Marchenko had a "particularly strong game" Saturday in the season finale, a 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
"He's big and smart and makes good plays," Babcock said. "He doesn't make tons of mistakes."...
"Every time you hit the ice in the NHL you get something from the game. They speed up the game; you try to adjust to it. I try to be better every game, help the team, learn how to communicate with your partner."
Brendan Smith appears to be the odd-man out. He was healthy scratch on Saturday, when Babcock made it clear he wasn't happy with Smith's gaffe during Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
The NHL sent out its national TV schedules--and as a result, the dates of every first-round playoff series--at 1:55 AM. Here's the Wings-Bolts series sked:
Date TIME (ET) #2 Tampa Bay vs. #3 Detroit Networks
Thursday, April 16 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 3 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Thursday, April 23 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD Tampa Bay at Detroit TBD
*Wednesday, April 29 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
Among the Red Wings prospects taking part in playoff action:
In Russia's KHL, the Alexander Kadeikin-less SKA St. Petersburg continue to surprise, and on Saturday, SKA defeated the Ak Bars Kazan 4-2 in the first game of the Gargarin Cup Final;
In the SHL, the "Finalen" starts today, when Axel Holmstrom and Skelleftea AIK battle the Vaxjo Lakers;
And back over on this side of the pond, in the WHL, Joe Hicketts registered 2 assists but his Victoria Royals lost a 4-3 OT decision to Mitchell Wheaton's Kelowna Rockets. Wheaton was held off the scoresheet but Kelowna's taken a 2-0 lead in the teams' second-round series;
While Dominic Turgeon finished at -2, but his Portland Winterhawks won a 4-3 double overtime decision over Everett to tie their second-round series at 1 game apiece.
In regular season play, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins withstood some hard hits and defeated the San Antonio Rampage 2-1 in OT, splitting their road series in Texas. The Griffins' website posited a recap...
The Red Wings will be opening their 2015 playoff run against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday (Sportsnet was first out of the chute with a series preview), hoping to break the hex of Ben Bishop and take out Yzerman's Bolts to make a greater-than-the-first-round dent in the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Saturday night, the Wings flew home to rest and recuperate before beginning their preparations for the Lightning in earnest, and in a way, they left behind the kind of chatter that Wings fans hope to never hear.
Fox Sports Carolinas' Lauren Brownlow spoke with Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters--after all, the Wings defeated Carolina 2-0 to close out the regular season on Saturday night--about the "almosts" of at least ending the 2014-15 season against "playoff teams":
Peters' team closed the season competing against some of the league's upper-echelon teams, and they were part of some high-caliber games. It was almost like the playoffs -- except, not quite.
"That was the fun thing for me coming down the stretch playing these good teams...That's as close as some of these guys have gotten (to the playoffs). There's another level. It goes up again. So it's unfortunate that some guys haven't witnessed that and experienced it and lived it and until you do, you don't know," Peters said.
Hello Florida, we're here to crush your playoff hopes.
Win and you go into the playoffs feeling good about yourself. Win--or at least get a point--and you avoid the Rangers. At least get a point and you don't have to say that the Ottawa Senators' late-season run eclipsed you.
There were more than enough reasons for the Red Wings to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes, even though they were resting Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and essentially trying to send a message to Brendan Smith (regardless of whether he received it).
Message received to the youngsters who were given exactly one game to strut their stuff. Landon Ferraro had a fantastic game in scoring his first NHL marker among a strong effort, the Wings' "kids" did their best to iron out the ugly parts of what was quite honestly a mucky-grindy-gucky game, and Petr Mrazek was nothing less than spectacular in pitching a 35-save shutout to backstop Detroit to a 2-0 win over the Canes.
Updated at 4:38 PM: The Red Wings face the Carolina Hurricanes this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Carolinas/City TV/97.1 FM) with Petr Mrazek in the net and Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith "resting."
Regarding the former point, Wings coach Mike Babcock explained his rationale to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
“When you’re a big time goalie you don’t talk about bounce back games, the bad goals, you talk about how many saves the guy makes,” Babcock said. “It’s all part of the business. It’s a hard position, you have to have the mental toughness to keep playing and believing in yourself. You have to find your game and keep the dips short. We all go through cycles but you have to keep them (dips) short as you can.”
Not getting the start surprised Howard.
“Obviously you want to play every game, but it’s his decision,” Howard said. “It was a good day of work (in practice), work with (goaltending coach) Jimmy (Bedard) and it’s all that matters.”
Howard found out about Babcock’s decision to start Mrazek Friday evening.
“A little bit,” said Howard, when asked whether he was surprised. “But like I said, it’s his decision.”
And the Free Press's Helene St. James...
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.