The Malik Report
From the Free Press's Helene St. James...
Pavel Datsyuk began a new week as he closed the old one: by scoring. Datsyuk’s goal midway through the third period of Monday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center was his sixth goal in the past five games. It was also the 310th of his career, pushing Datsyuk past Brendan Shanahan into seventh overall in goals in Red Wings history.
“He’s Pavel Datsyuk,” Henrik Zetterberg said with a smile. “I don’t think anyone is surprised. He is playing the way he always has been. Even as he gets older in age, he keeps playing the way he always has. Looking back at my career, he’s probably going to be the player that I’m most proud of playing with. We’ve had a lot of fun together.”
That especially has been true the past six games, which have seen the two reunited on the same line for the first time in years.
Gustav Nyquist passed the puck to Datsyuk for Monday’s goal.
“He’s really heating up here and producing,” Nyquist said. “Even when he wasn’t producing as much as he has done lately, he’s always a great player for us. When they got put together, him and Hank, seem to have gotten some energy off of that and are really finding each other. That’s great to see.”
And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Datsyuk’s hot streak last week coincided with coach Jeff Blashill reuniting Datsyuk and Zetterberg with Justin Abdelkader a big, bruising presence on the other wing. Blashill, also, figured it would just be a matter of time before Datsyuk’s offensive game clicked into gear.
“He was getting lots of chances and we all know when Pavel gets that many chances, he’s going to score,” Blashill said. “He was getting a little frustrated because he wasn’t scoring as much as he wanted. My message was keep doing what you’re doing. Sometimes you have to keep grinding and doing exactly what you’re doing. In the end, he was able to score because he kept at it.”
Of prospect-related note:
In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi finished at -2 in the Flint Firebirds' 5-2 loss to London;
And in the WHL, in a battle between Joe Hicketts' Victoria Royals and Dominic Turgeon's Portland Winterhawks, Turgeon scored a goal and assisted on the overtime winner as the Winterhawks defeated Victoria 2-1 in OT. Hicketts finished at -1 for Victoria.
On an evening of discontent in Red Wings nation, Sports Illustrated's Joshua Kloke:
Credit is due to Blashill for ensuring the transition from Babcock was a smooth one, but the real reason for Detroit’s success, as is usually the case, is the depth in their lineup.Besides Zetterberg and Datsyuk, the Wings’ top five scorers include rookie Dylan Larkin, who is a frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, as well as Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar, who are both producing the second-highest points per 60 minutes totals (all situations) of their respective careers. For all the inherent risk in relying on Zetterberg and Datsyuk, two skaters who are on the long side of 35, the supporting cast has quietly gone about its business.
As we approach the February 29 trade deadline, the list of buyers in the market will be obvious. Washington, Florida, Dallas, St. Louis and Chicago will all try to upgrade and fill holes for Stanley Cup run. But a look up and down Detroit’s roster begs the obvious question: Do the Red Wings even need to make a drastic move? This team might just be good enough as is to contend for the Eastern Conference crown.
Detroit GM Ken Holland is up against the salary cap. That’s a blessing and a curse: The Wings won’t be able to do much in the trade market, so their focus will be on readying the pieces they have for a the playoffs. There are no glaring gaps in the lineup. Petr Mrazek has emerged as a likely Vezina Trophy candidate, sporting top five numbers in both save percentage and goals-against average. Jimmy Howard hasn’t looked capable of taking the Red Wings to the next level in recent years but Mrazek, like many on the roster, is heating up at just the right time.
There are 25 games left on Detroit’s regular season slate. Over the course of those games, it should come as no surprise if a typically strong Red Wings team emerges as one of the most formidable dark horses in the East.
Updated with post-game videos at 11:24 PM: The Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders was just plain weird. The Wings came out strongly but hit energy and "compete level" walls when the Islanders scored their first goal, they surrendered a pair of second-period goals in 1:06 that put the game out of reach, and while Pavel Datsyuk ensured that the Wings wouldn't be shut out, the one particularly soft goal that Jimmy Howard gave up served as the salt-away marker in that 4-1 loss.
You could argue that Howard didn't have a good game and be correct, but he didn't get much help from the players in front of him, and for whatever reason, a team playing its second game in 2 days, its 3rd in 4 nights and 5th in 8 looked absolutely mentally and physically exhausted.
This reflected the stinging nature of the loss:
The Islanders were happy to both bounce back from a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday and to finally beat the Wings, as NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright noted:
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Jimmy Howard is still waiting for the puck to start bouncing his way.
His miserable season continued Monday afternoon in a Presidents Day special at the Barclays Center, as the New York Islanders defeated the Red Wings 4-1.
The Islanders scored three second-period goals, which meant another tough day for Howard, who saw his personal winless streak reach nine games (0-6-3) with the loss. Howard hasn’t won a game since Dec. 3 against Arizona.
“Jimmy played good; he just has to keep focusing on playing good hockey,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He can’t score more goals for us. He has to keep playing as well as he can.”
Howard declined to speak with reporters after the game....
“Jimmy has decided he’s going to keep his head up and keep working hard to get better,” said Blashill of Howard’s approach. “He’s making sure he’s putting himself in the best possible position and he looked extremely prepared.
“It just didn’t go his way.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
You may take this for what you will:
As mentioned last night, Toledo Walleye goaltender Jeff Lerg "Haseked" his way to a big 3-2 shootout win for the Toledo Walleye over the Fort Wayne Komets, and this save is being talked about all over the interweb (per HockeyWebcast):
The Detroit Red Wings faced off against the New York Islanders on a President's Day matinee on Monday, and the Wings had the opportunity to sweep their season series against New York. Detroit was placing significant trust in Jimmy Howard's ability to deliver a win, and...
It's hard to say whether the Wings were rewarded by placing their trust in Howard because the Wings played so badly in front of him. Howard gave up a strange one on the first goal and a stinker on what would ultimately be the final margin of New York's victory, 4-1...
But Detroit stank in terms of its defensive coverage, Detroit's mental and physical reserves were exhausted by the 3-games-in-4-nights-including-a-weird-matinee schedule, and the Wings simply didn't execute on the ice, no matter what excuse or explanation you want to use to dissect the 4-1 loss.
Detroit simply wasn't good enough, and sure, that's from the goal on out, but I don't pin this one on Howard. I pin this one on a sleepy Wings team not playing strongly enough in all three zones, on turnovers and blown coverage in which too many Islanders players scored surrounded by Wings defenders, and I pin this one on not getting the first goal and not scoring on 4 power plays.
From the NHL:
DATSYUK, LUNDQVIST AND MARCHAND NAMED NHL ‘THREE STARS’ OF THE WEEK
NEW YORK (Feb. 15, 2016) – Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Feb. 14.
FIRST STAR – PAVEL DATSYUK, C, DETROIT RED WINGS
Datsyuk shared the League lead with five goals and tied for second overall with seven points in four games to power the Red Wings (29-18-9, 67 points) to seven out of a possible eight standings points and second place in the Atlantic Division. He scored twice, his first multi-goal game of the season, in a 3-0 victory over the division-leading Florida Panthers Feb. 8. Datsyuk then collected one assist in a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Feb. 10 before posting one goal – and scoring in the shootout – in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Feb. 12. He capped the week with 2-1—3, including his 900th NHL point, in a 6-5 triumph over the Boston Bruins Feb. 14. The 37-year-old Sverdlovsk, Russia, native – who has spent his entire career with the Red Wings – became the sixth player in franchise history to reach the 900-point milestone (309-593—902 in 928 GP), joining Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov. He has registered 11-22—33 in 41 outings this season.
Jeff Blashill confirmed Jimmy Howard starts today and Thomas Greiss will be in the net for the Islanders.
No other lineup changes are expected and remember, puck drops just after 1:00pm ET today.
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.