The Malik Report
from Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register (paid subscriotion) at the Centre Daily Times,
Game 7 is set for Sunday night at Honda Center.
It wasn't necessary.
Neither was Game 6, really, but the Detroit Red Wings, spurred by jerseys in the ceiling or echoes from the '90s or something even more spiritual, have done something remarkable in this first-round series.
They have won two games with an inner-body injury. They came back twice after their souls were crushed.
The Detroit Red Wings nearly did themselves in against the Ducks, thanks to some awful play by Valtteri Filppula, on uncalled trip by Corey Perry and some terrible mistakes by the Quincey-Smith pairing...
But Jimmy Howard was masterful, Henrik Zetterberg was clutch, the Wings got butts in front of Jonas Hiller, and 1:09 into OT, the Red Wings defeated the Ducks 4-3--despite blowing a 3-1 lead--and are headed to Anaheim for Game 7 on Sunday at 10 PM. More in a minit, but please do comment!
Update: This game was baffling. On a night that the Grand Rapids Griffins smoked the Toronto Marlies 7-0 to open their second-round series and Wings prospect Martin Frk won a Quebec Major Junior League title with the Halifax Mooseheads, the Wings remain a riddle wrapped up in an enigma wrapped up in a gift-wrapped giveaway.
Pavel Datsyuk scored such a masterful opening goal late into the 1st period, after Jimmy Howard made some utterly remarkable saves...
The Red Wings' goaltender hasn't been perfect, but he's been close, and this save on Teemu Selanne was remarkable (2 views follow):
Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk put the Wings up 1-0 on Anaheim with this gloriously gorgeous goal:
Update: Here's what the Ducks' broadcasters thought of it:
I asked this question on Twitter, and ahead of what may be the last Red Wings game fans like you and me witness until training camp and the exhibition season get underway in September...
If the Wings' playoff push ends tonight, and "the kids" don't quite deliver against the Ducks, will you be satisfied with the progress made by a Red Wings team enduring a transitional year and an embraced-by-necessity youth movement? Do making the playoffs despite so many self-inflicted stumbles and giving the Ducks a run for their money constitute "enough" for you?
Coach Mike Babcock isn't overly concerned about having a lot of young guys in the lineup as the Wings face elimination, just because the Wings have changed so much this season overall. The biggest emphasis, he said after the morning skate, is to start well.
Babcock relayed a discussion he had with young defenseman Brendan Smith during Wednesday's game in Anaheim.
"I explained to one of our guys, one of kids, that's it kind of like a lawnmower," Babcock said. "You choke it and you start it, and it's revving for a few minutes to get going.
"We don't need to be a lawnmower. We need to get that done in warm-up. We need to be idling just perfect."
Ditto from the other side: "We all know this is going to be the most difficult," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "If we're not at our peak best, we're not going have success."
more from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press...
So it looks like no Eaves or Lashoff, Colaiacovo skating in his place.
added 10:48am, Numerous reports say Howard left practice early but Holland says he will play tonight.
Do you really think the Wings will change their defense tonight or is this just Drew Sharp being Drew Sharp?
Coach Mike Babcock is contemplating lineup changes for Game 6, perhaps opting for a little more veteran experience on the blue line. There have been more than a few occasions in this series where their green defensemen — Brendan Smith, Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl — have handled the puck in their own end as if it were radioactive.
But could adding Ian White or Carlo Colaiacovo into the lineup really provide that dramatic of an improvement?
You’ve gone this far. Don’t stop now. Let the kids learn from their mistakes, even if it ultimately contributes to another early playoff exit.
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
"Well, obviously, we've got to win a game," Mike Babcock said. "I mean, that's where we're at. That's what we'll think about for the rest of the day off, and tomorrow we'll get back at it.
"We've got to bounce back."
Asked about scoring, especially timely scoring, which has lagged in the series and, at times, throughout this season of transition for the Red Wings, Babcock talked about math.
"Well, I just think we've got to score one more than the other team," he said, the day after watching his club hit about three goalposts, amid some other close scoring opportunities.
"Whether it's Pavs (Pavel Datsyuk) or Mule (Johan Franzen) we've just got to have one more than the other team."
Henrik Zetterberg does not have a goal through five games, although he has authored some fine playmaking on a line with Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader.
Abdelkader returns to the lineup Friday after a two-game suspension for a high body-check that contacted the head of the Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings had a glorious opportunity to put the game away, getting a five-minute power play when leading by a goal late in the second period.
But, they couldn't generate much pressure, let alone score. Then, their man-advantage was cut short by 49 seconds due to their own penalty. Then, Ryan Getzlaf scored a power-play goal with 32 seconds remaining in the second period to tie it for the Anaheim Ducks.
Detroit still had chances to win in the third period. But, after Nick Bonino scored at 1:54 of overtime to give Anaheim a 3-2 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series at the Honda Center, the Red Wings looked back at that botched power play as the turning point of the game.
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.