The Malik Report
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
The Red Wings needed a victory to put themselves on the verge of clinching a 25th straight playoff berth while a loss could have made the final two games of the regular season – both on the road – a crap shoot.
They responded by turning in perhaps their finest performance of the season, a 3-0 victory before a raucous Joe Louis Arena crowd that watched as the Red Wings put themselves in position to clinch a playoff berth tonight in Boston.
"I said it to the guys after that game that I think this was our best game and certainly the best game our forwards have played," said defenseman Kyle Quincey. "It made our job very, very easy.
"Everything just kind of went our way tonight. When it didn't, Jimmy (Howard) made some big saves."
Indeed, Howard turned in one of his best games of the season while recording his first shutout since beating the Toronto Maple Leafs on opening night – 78 games before blanking the Flyers.
Watch extended game highlights below....
The Red Wings took a 3-0 decision over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, earning the opportunity to possibly clinch a playoff spot if they are to win in any fashion against the Boston Bruins this evening (7 PM EDT start on FSD/NESN Plus/NBCSN outside Michigan and Massachusetts/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
Here's what the standings look like now:
The Detroit Red Wings had a fantastic chance to improve their chances of earning a playoff spot over the course of Wednesday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a game that opened up a two-games-in-two-nights stretch for the team.
The Red Wings took care of business, getting goals from Helm, Athanasiou (shorthanded) and Quincey (empty-net), receiving a 30-save performance from Jimmy Howard and blocking 21 Flyers shots en route to a 3-0 win that was incredibly workmanlike, heartily deserved, and mean, nasty and gritty in the trenches.
According to MLive's Ansar Khan, the Red Wings can clinch a playoff spot if they win in any fashion on Thursday--win, OT win or shootout win.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video:
2. Here's the Flyers' game preview:
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon, in addition to a game-day post that's been updated 8 times, most recently at 3:30:
1. From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, regarding Tomas Jurco...
Jurco’s work ethic in recent practices, said coach Jeff Blashill, was a key reason for the change.
“I just told (general manager) Ken Holland, he’s (Jurco) really treated these last few weeks of practice with maturity and put himself in position so he can be successful,” Blashill said. “He’s been great in practice and now he has a chance to jump through that window of opportunity.”
Jurco has played 42 games this season with six points (four goals, two assists) and a minus-7 rating.
There are the rebounds he allows that will drive you nuts along with the occasional blowups that make you wonder how he even got in the league to begin with? Lets not forget about the massive belief among fans that he’s incapable of stealing a playoff game much less an entire series. Fans don’t trust James Howard and I don’t blame them one bit.
But things are different now! You have no choice, not only to trust in Howard but to root for him as well. He’s the only chance the Wings have if they want to make it into the playoffs for a 25th consecutive season. Howard has won 3 of the last 4 games he’s played in and has allowed a total of just 8 goals. He’s played in back to back contests recently when the Wings beat the Wild and Leafs and he’s emerged as the number one net minder once again as Petr Mrazek has hit a wall. This team needs Howard whether you like it or not.
From NBC Sports:
THREE TEAMS, TWO SPOTS – FLYERS, RED WINGS AND BRUINS FIGHT FOR NHL POSTSEASON BERTHS TONIGHT AND TOMORROW ON NBCSN
Red Wings Host Flyers Tonight on Wednesday Night Rivalry at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN; Bruins Host Red Wings Tomorrow Night at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Flyers Host Penguins on NHL Game of the Week Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Visit Islanders on Sunday Night Hockey on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET
Bruins, Flyers and Red Wings Tied with 91 Points and Two Playoff Spots Remaining
Former Flyers Head Coach Craig Berube Joins NHL Live as Guest Analyst Tomorrow Night
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 6, 2016 – The NHL “Push For The Playoffs” comes down to the wire this week on NBC and NBCSN as the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings, and Boston Bruins – who are all tied with 91 points – will battle for the final two remaining spots in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry will have huge implications on the playoff picture, when Pavel Datsyuk and the Red Wings host Claude Giroux and the Flyers tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Detroit then travels to Boston to face Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins tomorrow night at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN in a crucial Atlantic Division showdown.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
RUSSO NAMED TO 2015-16 AHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Robbie Russo on Wednesday was named to the 2015-16 AHL All-Rookie Team, as voted by coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.
In his first pro campaign after a stellar four-year collegiate career at Notre Dame, Russo has tallied five goals and 34 assists (5-34—39) in 65 games for Grand Rapids, while posting a league-leading plus-47 rating that is tied for the highest mark by an AHL player since 1993.
Chris Osgood appeared on Sportsnet's HockeyCentral at Noon radio show, discussing the Red Wings' playoff status, a supposed "goaltending controversy" in Detroit and Pavel Datsyuk's future (edit: the Datsyuk part isn't in this interview...I'll keep hunting for the audio):
From the Boston Herald's Stephen Harris:
More important than anything the Bruins did in practice today is what happens tonight in Detroit, where the Red Wings host the Philadelphia Flyers. The B’s desperately need to see the Wings lose to the hot Flyers in regulation.
If that happens, the B’s will have the opportunity tomorrow night at the Garden vs. Detroit to hop back into the No. 3 playoff in the Atlantic Division.
If Detroit wins tonight, it will arrive in Boston with a three-point lead over the Bruins. And even assuming a B’s win, the Game 82 results Saturday for the two teams will decide the playoff spot.
“You guys (the media) are using all these negative words: It’s frustration and disappointment and all that stuff,” said B’s captain Zdeno Chara. “It’s easy to be looking at it that way. But for us, we are extremely motivated. Yeah, we didn’t get the extra point that we wanted (in Tuesday’s shootout loss to Carolina), but we’ve got to make the best out of the situation that we are in.
“Obviously it’s a huge game tomorrow night. We can’t be worried about anybody else, just ourselves. Go out and get a big win tomorrow night.”
Updated 8x at 3:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to snap the Philadelphia Flyers' stunning 6-and-0 record on "NBCSN Rivalry Night" tonight on...NBCSN's Rivalry Night game between the Wings and Flyers (8 PM EDT start on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
The morning skate revealed that Jimmy Howard will start for Detroit opposite Steve Mason, Anthony Mantha may sit in Tomas Jurco's stead, and on the Flyers' side of the ice, defenseman Andrew MacDonald is now a "game-time decision."
Aside from Mantha swapping out for Jurco on the fourth line, the Wings should dress the following lineup, per MLive's Ansar Khan:
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.