The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings' kids went to work on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, and after a pretty solid performance against the Chicago Blackhawks two nights previously, the "kiddie corps" pounced upon the Penguins' "B Team," defeating Pittsburgh 6-1 thanks to a pair of Pulkkinen goals, a pair of Larkin goals and some surprisingly stout play from Jimmy Howard, who stopped 34 of 35 shots for the Wings.
The Wings have wrapped up a set of 3 games in 3 nights going 2-and-1, and they'll wrap their series against Pittsburgh next Wednesday in the Steel City. In the interim, we're likely to see a more veteran team take on the Boston Bruins on Saturday and "this team" take on the B's in Boston next Monday.
The Penguins' press corps followed the team to Detroit but didn't snag many quotes, so the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari's recap is a "just the facts" version...
The future's so bright, you've got to wear several pairs of shades--or at least that's probably what you're thinking after the Red Wings' 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Red Wings received 2 goals from Teemu Pulkkinen and Dylan Larkin, a goal and 3 assists for Tyler Bertuzzi, a 4-point night from Pulkkinen, 2 assists from Nick Jensen, a team-leading 4 shots from Larkin, strong performances from Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Alexey Marchenko, Ryan Sproul and Robbie Russo, a healthy performance from Johan Franzen, shot blocks from Brendan Smith, and yes, 26 saves (including 17 in the 3rd period) from Jimmy Howard, who was stout, strong, and even controlled in his rebounds.
The Wings came out strong with 3 1st-period goals and out-shot Pittsburgh 15-5 in the 1st, but Detroit was out-shot 30-12 in the 2nd and 3rd periods, and still managed to out-score Matt Murray's Penguins 3-1.
Detroit will practice on Friday and begin a set of back-to-backs against Boston on Saturday at home, heading to Boston on Monday and then wrapping up this series against PIttsburgh with an exhibition game in the Steel City on Wednesday, September 30th.
Larkin scored the Wings' 2nd goal, on a 5-on-3, from Teemu Pulkkinen and Johan Franzen. Detroit leads 3-0 after 1:
Earlier today, Pavel Datsyuk delivered good news regarding his recovery from ankle surgery...
And this evening, Red Wings GM Ken Holland issued good news regarding Datsyuk's recovery:
The Red Wings battle the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/ROOT Sports) with both the Wings and Penguins icing "B Teams," and Johan Franzen will be making his first appearance since incurring a concussion last January.
Jimmy Howard will play the entire game for the Wings, and both teams will engage in 5 minutes of 3 on 3 OT regardless of the score of the game.
If you want to chat about the game or find a means of watching it, here's a thread to suit your needs.
The Penguins will be icing the following lineup, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Jonathan Bombulie...
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. WXYZ's Brad Galli spoke with Dylan Larkin about the prospects (no pun intended) of turning pro with the Red Wings organization on the day of his Joe Louis Arena debut...
2. The Grand Rapids Griffins filed a video feature regarding the changes behind the Wings and Griffins' benches...
From the Free Press's Helene St. James, writing for USA Today:
The Detroit Red Wings, as their general manager put it, are not massively broken. Still, some change was vital.
There is a new head coach in place for the first time in a decade, and the lineup is bolstered by two newcomers the Red Wings hope can overturn a stretch of short playoff runs.
The Red Wings have an impressive 24-season playoff streak going, and they are the only NHL team that has made the playoffs every spring since the 2005 institution of a salary cap. Those are remarkable, historic achievements, but the past four springs have been sullied by only winning one series. That is something Jeff Blashill, who succeeded Mike Babcock behind the bench, wants to see change.
“I know the NHL is extremely close and it’s extremely hard to get to the top of the mountain, but I believe we are in the mix of teams to get there,” Blashill says. “I’m focused on what we have to do to make sure we are one of the eight teams in the conference that makes the playoffs. That’s because your ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and in order to do that, you have to first make the playoffs. So our focus from Day 1 will be what are those things it’s going to take to make sure that we earn the points we need to be one of the teams competing for the Stanley Cup.”
Updated 3x at 1:44 PM: From the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Johan Franzen demanded to know where his fence is.
His joke was that he needed something to keep away all the people interested in his health, especially in regards to his head. Franzen is scheduled to play tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Pittsburgh Penguins in an exhibition match at Joe Louis Arena. It will be Franzen's first game since a blindside hit Jan. 6 at Edmonton left him with his fourth head injury.
"It's going to be fun," Franzen said. "I've been training all summer for this moment, pretty much. This is the first time I get a chance to see where I am at with some real bumps and real hits out there.
Franzen is on a line with fellow big body Riley Sheahan at center, and speedy Luke Glendening on the right wing. It is a third line with the potential to wreak havoc on opponents, who will have used their best defenders on the top two lines.
Franzen sounds like a man hungry to be the impact player he was a few years back. He had produced seven goals among 22 points in 33 games last season before the injury.
"I'm not going to be afraid to go into corners and throwing hits," he said. "That's the last thing I think about right now.
"Hopefully, I will have a healthy season. Just, stay healthy, and have fun. I really missed it. Hopefully my head can handle it."
From the Red Wings:
The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forward Evgeny Svechnikov to the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, reducing the team’s preseason roster to 56 players: 33 forwards, 18 defenseman and five goaltenders.
The Red Wings host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit/97.1 The Ticket), wrapping up a set of three games in three days. Detroit will also play preseason home games against Boston on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and next Friday (Oct. 2) against Toronto at 7:30 p.m.
Update: From DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:
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.