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The Malik Report

From The Pittsburgh Side

from Jonathan Bombulie of Chipped Ice at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

I think tonight’s game is a good indicator of whether the Penguins are in a slump or not.

Remember slumps? That’s when a team loses several games in a row. They haven’t happened much under Sullivan. Like, not at all in the previous 90 games. But there is an opportunity for one to start here tonight.

The loss to Washington on Wednesday is not an indicator of a slump. The Caps are the hottest team in the league.

The loss to Ottawa on Thursday is not an indicator of a slump. That was a scheduled loss if ever I’ve seen one. The Penguins arrived at their hotel at 3 a.m. Thursday while the Senators were home resting for three days.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, are in that feared first-home-game-after-a-long-road-trip spot. They went 2-3-2 on their recently completed trip. They’re tied with the Islanders for last place in the conference.

Their young forwards haven’t taken a step forward. I’m not sure how many of their healthy D could crack the Penguins’ top six. One? Two tops? Petr Mrazek has struggled in the absence of Jimmy Howard due to injury.

more including defenisve pairings and line combinations...

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Why Is Jared Coreau Starting Tonight?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Coreau is starting for the sixth time in 10 games since Jimmy Howard suffered a knee injury on Dec. 20. That's because Petr Mrazek has been inconsistent (3.19 GAA, .893 save percentage).

How does Blashill decide his starting goalie?

"Just the same way we decide all our players -- we evaluate, we watch, we make decisions on who we think is going to give us the best chance to win each night," Blashill said.

Coreau has played well, with the exception of three bad periods - the third period in Pittsburgh and in the Centennial Classic against Toronto, and the first period in San Jose.

"When he's playing his best he uses his size (6-6) very well," Blashill said. "He doesn't over-move, nothing goes through him, he controls his rebounds well. You got to make big saves at big moments. That's the difference in the league lots of times.

"We've got lots of confidence in him. We've got to make sure we do a good job of limiting those big-time chances against."


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Detroit’s Morning Skate At The JLA

Ansar Khan tweets,

lines at skate:

defense pairs at skate:
Looks like Sproul scratched. Kronwall (groin) skating.

If Jensen plays tonight it will be his 10th game, so he would need to clear waivers to be sent down to @griffinshockey


added 10:39am, Khan with the pp units....

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Last Place In The Atlantic Division

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings (17-19-6) are in last place in the Atlantic Division, eight points behind third-place Ottawa for the final automatic playoff spot. Four clubs stand in between, making Detroit's task of reaching the postseason even more difficult.

A lot of hockey remains - 40 games. But history shows there is minimal movement in the standings the second half of the season, especially when you're in the cellar.

The Red Wings have come up short in virtually every facet of the game - offense, defense, goaltending, special teams and coaching.

Barring a turnaround that would border on miraculous, the Red Wings' 25-season playoff streak is destined to end.

How did they find themselves in this predicament? Here's how:


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Parking Options For The Next Four Home Red Wings Games

DETROIT – Due to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), traffic volumes will be increased in the downtown area and parking options will be altered for the Red Wings home games on January 14, 16, 18 and 22 at Joe Louis Arena.

The Cobo Center Roof Deck and the Cobo Center Parking Garage will be closed to Red Wings fans and colleagues for the next four home games taking place at The Joe in conjunction with the NAIAS at Cobo Center.

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The Talk After Detroit’s Loss To The Dallas Stars

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Henrik Zetterberg called the second-period performance “a little sloppy. Passed up shots. Gave up a lot of odd-man rushes. We felt good going into the second, but they completely took over the second period.

“We were a little stubborn. Instead of getting the puck down we were trying to make a cute play. Maybe it’s that we want it a little bit too much instead of getting the puck deep and get the puck back. When we do that, we create chances.”...

Wings goalie Petr Mrazek was better than his numbers, victimized by failed clears and deflections. The fourth goal was the killer, as it went in off Jonathan Ericsson’s stick.

“I feel like if you hit a 1,000 times, maybe you hit it once or twice,” Mrazek said. “Maybe. It was frustrating, but nothing you could do there.”...

“There are nights when you are going to get lots of chances and not score,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s why you can’t give up four.”
The Wings outshot the Stars, 33-21, but allowed 12 shots in the second period.

“I thought we got away from what was allowing us success in the first and what allowed us success in the third, and that was playing in the O-zone and kind of grinding on them a little bit and getting pucks to the net,” Blashill said. “It became too much of an up-and-down game at times and then they ground us a little bit in our D-zone.

“We’ve got to be tighter than that defensively. We have to make sure we make hard plays getting out of our end.”


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Detroit Red Wings/Dallas Stars Recap

I am sorry to say George is still not feeling well and I am just plain tired, it has been a long 25 hours or so for me.

With that, feel free to discuss Detroit's 5-2 loss to Dallas.

Goals are below...

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Riley Sheahan A Healthy Scratch

Ted Kulfan tweets,

Sheahan a healthy scratch tonight...confirmed by Ken Holland

No goals the entire first half season...about time probably in many fans' minds judging from feedback recent weeks


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Dylan Larkin Learning On The Fly And Tomas Tatar Toughing It Out

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Dylan Larkin is learning, sometimes the hard way, the challenges of playing center in the NHL.

As a rookie playing on the wing, he could focus mostly on offense because his center, Henrik Zetterberg, looked after him defensively. Now Larkin, who has been centering the third line recently, must be that defensive watchdog.

It hasn't been easy. His minus-15 rating is the second-worst on the team, a sharp contrast to his plus-11 rating in 2015-16. He has won only 44 percent of his faceoffs (88-of-201). He hasn't seen the ice late in the third period of some tie games, including Tuesday in Chicago, when he didn't play all but six seconds of the final 61/2 minutes.

"I take pride in being a good 200-foot player, but the NHL level is completely different than any level you've ever experienced, where players are so good and other centermen are so good that you have to be on your toes at all times," Larkin said before Thursday's game in Dallas. "You got to battle every faceoff, every time the puck is in your own zone you can't just glide around or turn away from the puck or it's going to be in the back of your net."


from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

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From The Dallas Side

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,


With most predictions at 95 points for a spot in the playoffs, the Stars need 53 points in the final 40 games. That means they need to start winning two for every one loss. Playing at home against a Detroit team that will likely miss the playoffs means the need to get two points out of this game is very high.

Key matchup-- Jamie Benn vs. Henrik Zetterberg

Benn returns after missing four games with a foot injury, and the Stars hope to feel his impact immediately. He had a goal and five assists in the four games before he was injured. Zetterberg is 36, but still one of the best puck possession players in recent NHL history. He has 28 points (7 goals, 21 assists) in 38 games this season, and has 45 points (11 goals, 34 assists) in 42 career games against Dallas. Zetterberg is plus-21 in those 42 games.

Key number-- 274

That's the Red Wings' man-games lost to injury this season, most in the NHL. Dallas ranks fourth in man-games lost at 183.


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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.


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