The Malik Report
And now things get complicated. The Detroit Red Wings host the Carolina Hurricanes in the final home game of the 2014-15 regular season this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Carolinas/97.1 FM), and with three total games remaining for the Red Wings, the Wild Card race looks like this--including goal differential...
And here is the Atlantic Division playoff picture:
Exactly one Wings prospect played playoff hockey on Monday, as noted by DRW Prospects on Twitter:
Christoffer Ehn is taking part in the Frolunda Indians' SHL semifinal series, and I plain old assumed that he'd been assigned to the J20 team. Ehn and Frolunda do indeed trail the Vaxjo Lakers 3-2 despite Frolunda's 1-0 win on Monday, and Game 6 will take place on Tuesday.
Things became clearer for other Wings prospects taking part in second-round playoff series in Major Junior Hockey, too:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. Could Abdelkader return soon?
General manager Ken Holland said on Monday that Justin Abdelkader is doubtful for Tuesday but might play before the end of the regular season, so his injury apparently is not long-term. He injured his hand blocking a shot during overtime in Saturday's 3-2 shootout victory at Minnesota.
It's a significant loss. Abdelkader is having a breakout season with career highs in goals (23) and points (44) and fills many roles: net-front presence on the power play, kills penalties, plays physical, agitates opponents.
2. Zetterberg in lengthy scoring slump
Henrik Zetterberg hasn't had nearly the same jump since the All-Star break. He is mired in possibly the worst goal-scoring slump of his career, with just one goal (along with 16 assists) in his past 27 games, during which time he is averaging 2.67 shots per game.
He was averaging nearly a point a game (15 goals, 30 assists) in his first 48 games, when he was averaging 3.13 shots per game.
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled right wing Landon Ferraro from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Ferraro, 23, ranks third on the Griffins with 42 points, including a career-high 27 goals (27-15-42), in 70 games this season. He is also tied for fourth in the AHL in that category, while sitting second with 235 shots on goal. A fourth-year pro, Ferraro has skated in 270 games with the Griffins since 2009-10, notching 140 points (75-65-140) and 204 penalty minutes. He’s also appeared in 33 postseason games, logging 19 points (6-13-19) and helping the Griffins to a Calder Cup championship in 2013. Originally drafted by Detroit in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Ferraro skated in four games for the Red Wings in 2013-14, making his NHL debut on March 18, 2014 versus Toronto. Prior to turning professional, the Trail, British Columbia, native skated in 220 Western Hockey League games with the Red Deer Rebels and Everett Silvertips, registering 152 points (76-76-152) and 270 penalty minutes.
Take this for what you will:
The Red Wings remain a remarkably confident team despite their 5-9-and-2 record over the past six weeks. This morning, MLive's Michael Niziolek noted that the Wings spoke quite assuredly regarding their playoff situation after yesterday's 2-1 loss to Washington...
"It hasn't gone quite the way we wanted to," Red Wings center Darren Helm said. "We're still I think in control of whether we make the playoffs here. We've got three games. It's a good thing that we're in control. We've got three more games and we can get into it. Unfortunately we kind of buried ourselves a little bit not picking up wins when we needed to and we're in a little bit of a tough situation now, but it's still in our hands. We've got to go play some good hockey here in the last three."
"We're still in it," Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "Have three games here. There's no point looking back and seeing what we did wrong or what we did right. We just got to focus on what we're doing here now and that's a game on Tuesday."
And DetroitRedWings.com's Craig Peterson, penning "A Look Ahead in Hockeytown," received similar comments from Justin Abdelkader:
And the Atlantic Division standings look like this:
Three Red Wings prospects' teams took part in playoff games on Sunday, and two of them are moving on--one to a league championship, and the other to either the Toledo Walleye or Grand Rapids Griffins.
In Sweden's SHL, Axel Holmstrom scored the game-tying goal as Skelleftea AIK rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Linkopings HC 3-1 (click for highlights) and advance to the SHL final. Holmstrom scored a goal on 3 shots and played 15:36;
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin is still injured, and SKA St. Petersburg is still kicking. SKA's 2-1 OT win over CSKA Moscow tied the "Army Derby" at 3 games apiece, and whoever wins Tuesday's seventh and deciding game will be playing for the Gargarin Cup;
And in the OHL, Jake Paterson wrapped up his junior career in inauspicious form, stopping 37 of 42 shots as his Kitchener Rangers were defeated 5-0 by the London Knights and eliminted from the OHL playoffs in 5 games. Paterson will either report to Toledo or Grand Rapids shortly.
The Red Wings faced a difficult task in battling the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon, and if I may be honest, this game scared the hell out of me. When you've got a team that's had trouble keeping pucks out of its net meeting one of the highest-scoring teams around, and a team that both scores and plays Barry Trotz's classic Predators Trap, no less, I thought, "Great, way to get screwed on the game-in-hand on Boston."
Hearing that Justin Abdelkader was out with an "upper-body injury" was equally worrisome, though it sounds--and I want to emphasize that I'm speculating here--that his hand-and-or-finger isn't broken enough from blocking that shot against Minny that the Wings can't tape it up and get him ready for a playoff game.
The problem, of course, is that today's game was a playoff game for both teams, and Detroit showed up late in the 1st and 3rd periods. As a result, the Capitals got some tip-in goals off Drew Miller that Petr Mrazek had no chance on, and for whatever reason--and that reason is beyond me--Detroit did not have the moxie or jam necessary to battle back until time was set against them and the Capitals were stacked in their zone, blocking shot after shot attempt.
This is almost a relief. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff reports that Justin Abdelkader is, uh, hurt, but not damaged in such a manner that he's been ruled out for today's game:
The Wings weren’t very revealing about Abdelkader’s status prior to Sunday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the Washington Capitals.
“He’s got an upper body injury and he’s a good player,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who was still awaiting word from team physicians as to whether Abdelkader woud be able to suit up. What I’ll do is I’ll wait until the docs decide and then I’ll decide. The doc that’s looking at him, he knows that the game’s at 5, but he’s on a different program than me. He wasn’t here when I was here. But if he gets here, we’ll have a look at him.”
Author of a career-high 23 goals this season, well in excess of his previous personal best of 10, Abdelkader has been especially hot down the stretch, scoring 10 goals in the last 17 games.
Day-to-day is better than week-to-week.
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.