The Malik Report
Of prospect-related note:
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin finished at -1 with 2 shots in 13:20 of ice time as SKA St. Petersburg lost 5-1 to Dynamo Moscow;
And in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins filed their weekly release:
This time, the Red Wings couldn't suggest that they were walking into a trap, or that they had underestimated the Devils' pluck. After 2 straight losses to the New Jersey Devils, the Wings came into tonight's game knowing that they faced a team that's had Detroit's number and knowing that the Devils possess an active defensive corps that digs into leads when the Wings sit back.
No excuses, no bullshit. This game couldn't be an ambush.
It wasn't any of those things. The Red Wings defeated New Jersey 1-0 thanks to a gorgeous goal from Dylan Larkin, a 22-save performance from Petr Mrazek, and a whole bunch of solid, stout defensive plays from solid, stout defensive players = Detroit out-forechecked, out-backchecked, out-ground, out-hustled and out-Deviled New Jersey en route to the aforementioned 1-0 victory.
It wasn't pretty, it wasn't necessarily all that entertaining, but it was a win, the Wings' 2nd of 2016, and the 4 points the Wings have accumulated thus far matter more than elegant hockey, as much as it pains me to say that.
With four games against big, nasty and competitive Western Conference teams starting on Thursday, the Wings are going to need to apply the checking lessons they've learned in their 3-game series against the Devils toward playing enough "boring road hockey" to steal some points out West.
This is one helluva goal by Dylan Larkin:
MLive's Brendan Savage posted a clip of Jeff Blashill discussing the decision to start Petr Mrazek this evening...
Evgeny Svechnikov didn't fare in the scoring, but Team Russia defeated Team USA 2-1 on Monday, advancing to Tuesday's gold medal game against Vili Saarijarvi and Finland (1:30 PM EST start).
The Americans and Swedes (Axel Holmstrom, Christoffer Ehn) will play for bronze at 9 AM EST.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
COREAU NAMED GOALTENDER OF THE MONTH
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The American Hockey League on Monday announced that Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau has been selected as the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for December.
Coreau becomes the fifth Griffins goaltender to earn monthly league (AHL/IHL) accolades and the first since Jimmy Howard in December 2007.
Coreau made 11 starts in December and finished with a 9-2-0 record along with a 1.92 goals against average and a .938 save percentage during a historic month for the Griffins. Grand Rapids extended its franchise-record winning streak to 15 games in December before a 3-2 defeat at Lake Erie on Dec. 27 halted the run. The Griffins concluded December with a 10-2-0-0 (0.833) record, marking the best December winning percentage in the franchise’s 20 years.
New Jersey's side of the ice, the news involved the absence of Mike Cammalleri, whose 35 points in 38 games lead the team, as the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti noted:
"He's day to day right now,” [coach John] Hynes said. “I'd like to give you more. He is skating. We're just trying to figure out really what it is. Right now, it truly is day to day and he's seeing the doctor today and we'll just make sure it's nothing more than that.”
The Devils have not said specifically what Cammalleri's injury is. He was icing his right wrist/forearm after scoring two goals in Wednesday's 3-0 win in Ottawa, but said that was just for maintenance.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose profiled Jordin Tootoo, who's healthy, happy and productive with the New Jersey Devils:
Once he completed rehab, Tootoo played one more season with the Predators before signing a three-year contract with the Red Wings in July 2012. But life threw another curveball at him when the Red Wings assigned him to their minor-league club in Grand Rapids.
It was with the Griffins that Jeff Blashill first met Tootoo, and grew to appreciate his commitment on and off the ice.
“It was tough situation. He didn’t want to be down there, but he handled himself great,” the Red Wings head coach said. “He helped our younger guys get better. He came to work every day. He helped me as a coach. He competed every night. He brings great energy. He can really hit. He can skate and is on the puck hard. He brings the competitive level of your team up and that’s what he’s done against us the two games he’s played against us. I’ve got lots of respect for Jordin and he’s done a really good job with Jersey.”
Though he has a team-worst minus-16 rating, Tootoo has earned increased ice time, even on special teams, with the Devils this season. He has three goals, two on the power play, and eight points in 38 games.
“You never ever are gonna as a player say you get too much ice time,” said Tootoo, who has a goal and two assists in two games wins over the Wings this season. “But I understand what my role is and whatever they need me to play I’m willing to do that. I’m just embracing it and enjoying it.”
Update: Here's a bit more about Tootoo from the Free Press's George Sipple:
Although none of the Wings prospects involved dented the scoresheet--Axel Holmstrom had 0 shots and Christoffer Ehn had 1 for Sweden, and Vili Saarijarvi had 1 shot for Finland--Saarijarvi's Finns defeated Holmstrom and Ehn's Swedes 2-1, and as such, Finland will play for the gold medal tomorrow at 1:30 PM EST in Helsinki.
HockeySverige.se captured Holmstrom's dejection after the loss:
TSN isn't geoblocking their highlights:
The Red Wings battle the New Jersey Devils this evening (7 PM EST on FSD/MSG Plus/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), with the Wings hoping to build upon their 4-3 win over Buffalo on Saturday and the Devils hoping to extend a 3-game winning streak.
If the Devils win this evening, they'll make some history, as NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale notes:
NJD to hold optional skate this morn in prep for DET. The last time the Devils won 3 straight vs DET in season was sweep in '95 SCF.
The Bergen Record's Tom Gulliti confirms that the Devils "took an optional"...
Optional morning skate for Devils again today.
But this could be big news as Mike Cammalleri is the Devils' leading scorer--with 35 points in 38 games--and has been nursing an upper-body injury:
No Mike Cammalleri for Devils' optional morning skate.
In his "5 Things to Watch" column, MLive's Ansar Khan did a fine job of setting the scene for tonight's 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.