The Malik Report
Of prospect-related note:
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin played all of 1:30 in SKA St. Petersburg's 3-2 loss to CSKA Moscow. CSKA leads the Western Conference Final 2-0;
In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn had a shot in 14:32 of ice time as the Frolunda Indians defeated Djugardens IF 5-1, advancing to the SHL semifinal via a 4 games-to-1 margin;
And in the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo finished at +1 in 9:56 of ice time as TPS Turku defeated Karpat Oulu 2-1, knotting the teams' first-round series at 2 games apiece.
Update: In the BCHL, Chase Perry stopped 27 of 30 shots as the Wenatchee Wild lost 3-2 to the Chilliwack Chiefs in OT, dropping their second-round series in 5 games. Perry is headed to RPI next.
There's little to be said in terms of setting up tonight's game and its relative importance to the Red Wings. Detroit rather desperately needed to get back on a winning track as it began a 3-game home stand and a set of 4 games over the course of 6 nights, and the Canadiens rather desperately wanted to play the spoiler's role.
The Canadiens nearly succeeded thanks to a rally from a 4-0 deficit, but the Red Wings prevailed, winning 4-3.
This was a terrifying game to watch at times, nothing less than a game with playoff intensity and playoff wackiness, but Riley Sheahan showed up in a big way, scoring 2 goals, Anthony Mantha scored his first goal, of all people, Luke Glendening got a classically mucky goal and Detroit fired 40 shots and 70 attempts on Ben Scrivens, who nearly stole the game from Petr Mrazek (who was the recipient of unfortunate puck luck on 2 of the 3 goals he surrendered) and the Wings.
The crowd was intense, the Habs served notice that they won't be trifled with next Tuesday, and the Wings, by hook or by crook, got the 2 points they needed to pull within 1 point of the Bruins and--for the moment--pull past Philly and back into the playoff picture.
Now all that has to happen is that the Avs need to beat Philly, and all will be well in the hockey world. For a day or two.
Right now this might be the game-winner:
AWood40 posted an extended clip:
The Montreal Canadiens' broadcasters were infuriated by this hit by Brendan Smith on Stefan Matteau, but the Detroit broadcast insisted that it was clean, if borderline:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James duly notes that the trio of Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Henrik Zetterberg have not been lighting it up of late:
It's not every day you get to sit ice level for your favorite hockey team’s morning skate, but that's exactly what Reese Cordes got to do Thursday morning.
"He knew what his wish was but he didn’t know it was coming true today," explained his mother, Holly.
She knew how excited her son would be to get behind the scenes at Joe Louis Arena.
"I had goosebumps when I told people about the experience. Especially yesterday when it was getting closer," said Holly.
Reese is battling a life-threatening seizure disorder.
The Grand Rapids Griffins allowed their own players to design the jersey the team will be wearing for "Superhero Night" this Saturday, and the Griffins' players displayed vastly disparate levels of artistic aplomb before choosing a mostly-white jersey in their team vote:
The Canadiens' media corps descended upon Anthony Mantha as #39 will be making his home-ice debut againt his hometown team this evening, and Mantha answered questions in both French and English, speaking with La Presse's Marc Antoine Godin (roughly translated)...
"It will be a great moment for me and also for my family. It was important for them to come to my first home game, and especially since it's against Montreal. I had to limit myself to 15 tickets because the game's already sold out!"
In the other locker room, Michael McCarron, who grew up in Michigan, was able to do so in advance and has 40 relatives and friends coming to see him play his first game in Detroit.
Among those who will be on hand to support Mantha are his grandfather Andre Pronovost, who played for the Canadiens and Red Wings.
Red Wings-Canadiens game-day articles: 1-2-3-let’s-have-fun? plus ‘Wings for Wishes,’ game-day video
Updated 7x at 2:39 PM: The Canadiens' morning skate is still wrapping up ahead of tonight's game against the hometown Red Wings (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet East/RDS/NHL Network U.S./97.1 FM).
There's already post-Wings-morning skate news (no lineup changes unless Blashill changes his mind during warm-ups + Mrazek starts) from the Free Press's Helene St. James, who reports that the Red Wings hope to "have fun" with a schedule in which they still need to win 6 or 7 of the nine games remaining to make the playoff cut...
"We've just got to go game-by-game and have fun with it," forward Riley Sheahan said. "We know we have the skill. It's exciting and an intense environment It's kind of hard to just look at the standings and compare yourself to other teams, because there are so many teams that are in the race."
The Wings have got to take advantage of being at home, where they also host Pittsburgh on Saturday and Buffalo on Monday. On Tuesday, they play at Montreal (a team out of the playoff running), then come home and host Minnesota. After that, there's a trip to Toronto (which sits at the bottom of the NHL standings) and then, on April 6, there is a huge home showdown against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Wings finish the season with games at Boston and the New York Rangers.
Updated 4x at 11:28 AM: The Detroit Red Wings face a near must-win situation as they face the Montreal Canadiens this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/NHL Network U.S./Sportsnet East/RDS/97.1 FM), and the Red Wings got down to the business of preparing for tonight's game just after 10:30 AM, per the Wings...
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.