The Malik Report
Updated 4x at 1:58 PM: The Red Wings held their morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 PM EST on NBCSN/97.1 FM), and it offered no surprises: Petr Mrazek will start opposite MIchal Neuvirth, and Teemu Pulkkinen will play alongside Luke Glendening and Tomas Jurco, giving the fourth line a bit of scoring "pop."
The Flyers didn't hold a morning skate as they're coming into town having hosted the New York Rangers yesterday (Philadelphia lost 3-2 in a shootout)
The Red Wings face a possible playoff spot-earning rival in the Philaelphia Flyers this evening (7:30 PM EST on NBCSN/97.1 FM; TSN's Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro are calling the game with Pierre McGuire). Philadelphia's won 4 of their past 5 games, and they've won 4 of the past 5 meetings with the Wings, who hope to avoid a first-game-back-from-a-West-Coast-swing struggle at home.
Among the Flyers website's "5 Things to Know" about tonight's game:
This is the first of three meetings against the Red Wings this season and first of two in Detroit… The Flyers have won four of their last five meetings with the Red Wings, including their last contest by a score of 7-2 in March of last year, and are 7-3-0 in their last 10 meetings dating back to 2009-10… In the Flyers-Red Wings rivalry each team has had success on home ice - the Flyers have a .711 winning percentage with a 40-13-11 record at home, but only a .379 winning percentage playing at Detroit, going 20-36-10… The Flyers have three players on their roster who average a point per-game or better in their career against the Red Wings (Giroux, Raffl & Streit) while the Red Wings have two (Datsyuk & Zetterberg).
Dave Jackson and Ghislain Hebert will referee tonight's game, with Steve Miller and Greg Devorski working the lines.
The Wings hit the ice just after 10:30 AM for the morning skate, per the Wings...
MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Wings prospect Vili Saarijarvi about playing for the victorious Finns at the World Junior Championship in Helsinki this past December and early January:
"It was like very big experience and very good, very good experience," said Saarijarvi, 18. "What made it so special was that it was played in Finland and Helsinki. I went to home before the tournament to see my family and friends and then the goal in the tournament was that we get the gold and we get it so it was a great experience. That made it so special that we won at home.The crowd we had there and those Finnish fans was awesome. it was unreal."
The tournament marked the fourth straight year Saarijarvi represented Finland on the international stage.
He played for the Finns' U-16 and U-17 teams before representing his country in last year's U-18 World Junior Championship."Two, three years ago, I started playing under-16 national team games and watching TV," he said. "Those under-20 World Juniors, it was like a dream. I wanted to play there. It was my goal. I watched it as a kid. It was pretty awesome."
Savage continues, and he posted a video of Saarijarvi's comments as well:
Of prospect-related note:
The 23-14-and-7 Red Wings are going to play the 19-15-and-8 Philadelphia Flyers 3 times in the second half of the season, starting this evening (7:30 PM EST start on NBCSN/97.1 FM).
If the Wings, who have 53 points, slip up too much, they might end up battling the Flyers, who have 46 points, for a Wild Card spot, so Detroit's going to have to treat the Flyers with more respect than they did the New Jersey Devils (0-2-and-1 on the season series) if they are to do more than create another playoff rival.
Our friends from Philadelphia will be playing the back half of a back-to-back set of games tonight, having dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the New York Rangers on Saturday, snapping a 4-game winning streak.
The Red Wings held a spirited practice on Saturday afternoon, and after practice, the beat writers let us know that Teemu Pulkkinen will return from a shoulder injury tomorrow against the Flyers, and Petr Mrazek will tend goal in the NBCSN-televised game (7:30 PM start, not 8 PM, sorry).
MLive's Ansar Khan posted a video of Pulkkinen's comments to the media...
Updated 4x at 1:26 PM: Pulkkinen will play on Sunday, and Mrazke starts vs. Philly:
The Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 12 PM on Saturday, preparing for Sunday's home tilt against Philadelphia (8 PM EST start on NBCSN), per DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:
This is a bit of a surprise, but it's accurate per the Wings' roster page:
Of Red Wings-related note: It's officially time for Atlantic Division screenshots:
The Wings sit second in the Atlantic Division and tied for 3rd in the Eastern Conference (and 4 points out of 8th) thanks to their 5-for-6 road trip, and, as the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted, Wings coach Jeff Blashill feels that the team's rebounded from its Christmastime struggles:
Of prospect-related note:
In the AHL, Jared Coreau stopped all 30 shots he faced and Nick Jensen scored the game-winning OT goal as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Lake Erie Monsters 1-0 in OT, on a goal that required review to confirm. The Griffins' website posted a recap:
NEW YORK (Jan. 15, 2016) – The National Hockey League (NHL®), the Colorado Avalanche® and the Detroit Red Wings® today jointly released the current rosters for the 2016 NHL Stadium Series™ Alumni Game that will take place at Coors Field on Friday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m. MT, a day prior to the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™.
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.