The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings headed into Thursday night's game against the St. Louis Blues hoping to extend their winning streak to 6 games, battling a Blues team that had lost 3 of their 4 previous games.
In Steve Ott's 800th game and Justin Abdelkader's return to the lineup, Petr Mrazek was the hero, stopping 31 of 32 Blues shots (and a boatload of attempts against--60 to be precise to 46 Wings shot attempts)...
And Henrik Zetterberg struck for the shootout-winning goal in a game that the Red Wings climbed into and climbed out of after a difficult 1st period start, scratching and clawing their way to two points in what was sometimes ugly and eventually beautiful fashion.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. From the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson:
The Wings badly need a defenceman and have their sights set on Ducks’ Cam Fowler, who played junior in Windsor. The Ducks, as we all know,, have crushing salary cap issues and only D Simon Despres long-term injury status is helping them now. They’re doing everything to try and keep Fowler. If they can, they’ll probably go four D and four F in expansion draft (Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa with his no-move clause, and Fowler) and four forwards (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silferberg). Ideally, they’d much rather move Clayton Stoner but nobody’s biting on his $3.25 mil for this year and next.
If Hall of Famer-in-waiting Pavel Datsyuk hadn’t gone back to Moscow to play in the KHL, he would have had a reduced role with the Wings. His knees are very bad — that was his problem at the World Cup — and he doesn’t move anywhere like he used to.
2. In Wings-Pistons news, from the Associated Press:
ESPN's Craig Custance spoke with MSG analyst and former NHL goalie Steve Valiquette regarding the up-tick in goal-scoring in the NHL this season, and Custance checked in with Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill to add a GM and coach's takes on the situation. Holland believes that the proliferation of younger players in the league has something to do with the scoring splurge:
“All the youth in the league, they don’t check like veterans. They’re hockey players. They’re okay exchanging chances. It’s adding to more scoring chances,” Holland said. “When you get the coaches an opportunity here to coach and implement systems, by the end of the year, scoring is going to come down and they’re going to check better.”
Teams also tend to give their young players the early opportunity as the season opens, and if that doesn’t work out, they turn to veterans. That especially seems to be the case this season as the salary cap continued to stagnate.
The Coyotes have gone young this season, and are allowing a league-high 4.33 goals per game. Right behind them are three other teams that are breaking in talented but inexperienced young players in Toronto (4.17), Carolina (4.0) and Winnipeg (3.67).
“There’s immaturity in young guys' games at times,” Blashill said. “With guys that have been around, they know how to play, they know how to keep leads, they know how to keep the puck moving in the right direction.”
The league is also trending toward more speed. Everyone saw how successful the Pittsburgh Penguins were last season and want to keep pace. Speed, pressure and aggressive forechecking can lead to goals on both ends of the ice.
“There’s more pressure on O-zone play,” Blashill said. “It creates turnovers on offense, it also creates you putting yourself in spots where people get behind you. That creates more offense as well.”
Custance continues in his Insider-only entry, and Blashill isn't sure whether the trend of increased scoring will continue...
“Let it even out over time,” Blashill said. “I understand that’s the world we live in, we want instantaneous reports on stuff but I think the reality is this will even itself out. I try not to look at statistics early.”
Updated 3x at 4:04 PM: The Red Wings and Blues held relatively uneventful morning skates ahead of tonight's game between the teams (8 PM EDT on FSD/FS Midwest/97.1 FM). Justin Abdelkader's probably going to return to the Wings' lineup, and Jori Lehtera is going to return to the Blues' lineup; Petr Mrazek will face off against Jake Allen in the goalies' respective creases.
StLouisBlues.com's Chris Pinkert posted the Blues' likely lineup...
The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to push their winning streak to 6 games when they take on the St. Louis Blues this evening (8 PM EDT on FSD/FS Midwest/97.1 FM), and as MLive's Brendan Savage notes, it's been a while since the Wings won 6 straight:
• The Red Wings have won five straight games, their longest winning streak since they won six straight from Jan. 13-27, 2015. The last time they won seven in a row was during the 2011-12 season. They won seven straight from Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2011 and did it again from Jan. 12-23, 2013.
The Blues are a little agitated and aggravated by their home-ice play despite a good home-ice record, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Tom Timmerman notes:
From the Detroit Red Wings:
Annual Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night
Fans encouraged to wear lavender on Saturday to support Cancer Awareness as Red Wings take on Boston Bruins at 7:00 p.m. at The Joe
DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings have joined forces with the American Cancer Society to host the club's annual Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night on Saturday, Oct. 29, when the Red Wings square off against the Boston Bruins at 7:00 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena (FOX Sports Detroit & 97.1 The Ticket). Red Wings fans attending Saturday's game are encouraged to wear lavender to help support cancer awareness.
More than 60 cancer patients, survivors and caretakers from American Cancer Society will experience the game from the Rehmann Suite Level as guests of captain Henrik Zetterberg, defenseman Brendan Smith and the Red Wings. Additionally, all fans attending Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night at Joe Louis Arena will receive an official "I Fight For" rally towel, courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeff Gordon praises the Red Wings' resiliency this morning:
Like the Chicago Cubs, the Maple Leafs went the tank-and-rebuild route to acquire young talent. That is totally within the rules, of course, but it far less noble than trying to contend every year -- as the Detroit Red Wings have done.
Against all odds, the Winged Wheeled has rolled into the playoffs 25 years in a row. Twenty-five!
And even with star center Pavel Datsyuk opting to finish his career in Russia and cornerstone defenseman Niklas Kronwall shelved with chronic knee problems, Detroit will be in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt again this season.
Blues fan will see that for themselves tonight at Scottrade Center.
How do the Red Wings do it? By finding jewels deeper in the NHL draft and landing undrafted free agents.
Of prospect-related note:
In the Finnish Liiga, DRW Prospects found where Julius Vahatalo is playing:
I can't even find where TUTO, TPS Turku's farm team, plays without Google, but Tuto defeated KeuPa HT 4-0;
In the Swedish Allsvenskan, Mattias Elfstrom took a penalty in IK Pantern's 3-1 win over Sodertalje SK;
In the QMJHL, Adam Marsh's Val-d'Or Foreurs lost 3-2 to Victoriaville in OT;
In the OHL, Givani Smith took 8 shots but finished at -2 in the Guelph Storm's 5-2 loss to Owen Sound.
The Detroit Red Wings hope to stretch their winning streak to 6 games when they battle the St. Louis Blues Thursday evening (8 PM EDT on FSD/FS Midwest/97.1 FM).
In theory, the Wings are picking the right time to come to St. Louis: the Blues are coming off a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Tuesday, and the Blues have lost 3 of their past 4 games. According to In the Slot's Louie Korac, however, the Blues are 2-and-1 at home, and they're very specifically planning on homing their home-ice advantage:
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.