The Malik Report
Andre Pronovost’s fondest Motor City hockey memory occurred nearly 60 years ago. That is until Thursday when his grandson scored his first career goal as an NHL rookie.
Anthony Mantha’s first goal – on the power play at 17:27 of the second period – gave the Red Wings a four-goal cushion against Montreal, the club that his grandfather won four consecutive Stanley Cups with, from 1957 to 1960.
Mantha’s goal eventually stood as the game winner after the Canadiens made a third-period surge that fell short in the Wings’ 4-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
Tears welled in Pronovost’s eyes as he tried to capture his grandson’s on-ice goal celebration on a mobile device from his seat in Section 115.
“Every time when he had good years like in juniors when he scored all those goals and last year in Grand Rapids when I’m there he gets points,” Pronovost said, “and I can get emotional every time.”
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson has played a large role in Anthony Mantha's development, and Nelson spoke with the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner regarding Mantha's first NHL goal:
"You know, you feel proud when you see a kid go up there and get his first goal like that," Griffins coach Todd Nelson said Friday. "Mo earned that call up. It wasn't one of those where, 'Oh, we'll see how he does a couple games.'"
Nelson also weighed in regarding Mantha's call-up in general and his potential going forward:
"You watch him out there, he adds size to them and you definitely notice it when he's on the ice," Nelson said. "He's not overly physical but his size, his reach, he helps their forward group."
It was unfair, Nelson said, to reap so high of expectations so early on Mantha."Everybody develops differently," he said "It took him some time and some growing pains, but that gave him a chance to mature and that's what the American Hockey League is all about – develop players into men as professionals.
"He's a great story. He had a tough year last year and this year he played himself into a spot in Detroit."
Updated at 1:26 PM: Kronwall "took a maintenance day":
The Red Wings were unable to practice at Joe Louis Arena the morning after their 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens due to a comedy show, so the Wings headed to the University Liggett School for their Friday skate (ahead of tomorrow's 2 PM-start game against the Penguins), as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa noted:
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose confirmed...
The #RedWings are on the ice for a Good Friday practice in Grosse Pointe Woods. @ University… http://instagram.com/p/BDYceC1Go7S/
Some of the #RedWings watching one-on-one drills at practice today. #lgrw @ University Liggett… http://instagram.com/p/BDYgSp9Go18/
This is not necessarily a surprise after a -3 performance, per MLive's Ansar Khan (let's just say that Kronwall's knee at less than 100%)...
#RedWings on ice for practice. Niklas Kronwall only player not skating. No word yet on his status for tomorrow.
Two items of Red Wings-related note popped up just before noon:
1. MLive's Tom Mitsos examines Dylan Larkin's rookie pro season via advanced stats:
It doesn't take an in-depth look at advanced analytics to see Dylan Larkin is having a good rookie season for the Detroit Red Wings.
The 19-year-old has 21 goals and 22 assists in 71 games, just one season after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year at Michigan (15 goals, 32 assists). He also had a quick stint in Grand Rapids during the AHL playoffs, where he had three goals and two assists in six games with the Griffins.
The goals, assists and points are well-documented, but what about the rest of his game?
Let's take a look at some of Larkin's five on five stats and where they rank on the Red Wings. All stats are taken from Corsica.hockey and War-on-ice and include the 23 players who have played at least 200 minutes at five on five for the Red Wings.
2. And Red Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet gave an intriguing interview to the Grand Rapids Griffins' YouTube channel while driving around downtown GR:
Yesterday I asked if there was anyone out there who'd be willing to help translate a Russian interview that Igor Larionov gave to Championat's Maxim Zamyatin, and George Maslennikov delivered in a big way. Here's a translation of an interview in which Larionov discusses the Wings' playoff streak:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Petr Mrazek summarized the Red Wings' feelings about their 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Reuters' recap of said game:
"They found a way how to come back to the game, but in the end it doesn't matter," said Detroit goaltender Petr Mrazek, who made 26 saves. "You got two points, and nobody's going to ask you in a couple days how you won the game."
2. The Free Press's Drew Sharp spoke with Anthony Mantha about scoring his first goal after experiencing an up-and-down two years with the Grand Rapids Griffins...
“The best experience you can get is disappointment,” Mantha said regarding his prior struggles. “Last year was probably the best thing for me. I had to build my confidence back up and just focus my attention on the next shift and not get too far ahead of myself. I started working more on the little things.”
3. In the FYI department, from TSN's Scott Cullen:
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings have reassigned defenseman Vili Saarijarvi (VIH-lee SAH-ree-YAHR-vee) to the Grand Rapids Griffins from the OHL’s Flint Firebirds.
Detroit’s second choice (73rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Saarijarvi played in 59 games this season for the Firebirds. The 5-foot-10, 163-pound blueliner ranked third on the team in points (12-31—43), fifth in goals (12) and second in assists (31). Among OHL defensemen, Saarijarvi tied for ninth in points, tied for 16th in assists, tied for seventh in goals, tied for the lead with eight power play goals and ranked second in shots (219). Saarijarvi was named the OHL’s defenseman of the month for October after picking up 11 points (2-9—11) and a plus-nine rating in 11 games.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
Not much has come easy for the Detroit Red Wings this season.
• Who can forget the six losses in seven games after they opened the season with three straight victories?
• Or goaltender Jimmy Howard's nearly three-month battle to simply win a game?
• And the Red Wings' problems scoring goals – especially on the power play – that have been an issue virtually all season?
All are still fresh in the minds of everyone who follows the Red Wings closely.
So perhaps it was fitting that the Red Wings opened perhaps their most important homestand of the campaign with a game that mirrored their season....
Two years ago, they didn't secure a playoff berth until game No. 80 and the previous season – when the players were locked out until January – they won their final four games to squeak into the postseason.
So the pressure they'll face in their final eight games is nothing new to many Red Wings.
"They're all playoff games so me," said defenseman Brendan Smith, who had two assists. "I mean, we were in this two years ago where we pretty much had to win eight or nine of the 10 (remaining games) and so we've seen it.
"I actually think we're in a better position than we were then, so we know it's up to us and I've talked other people about it. It's in our hands, so the better we play, the more points we can get, we'll secure a playoff spot."
more on last night's game...
Watch the extended game highlights below...
The Red Wings' 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday was nothing less than bizarre at points, with the Wings looking like they were going to roll over the Habs during 1st and 2nd periods that the Wings dominated, building up a 4-0 lead, and the Canadiens seeming like the perfect spoilers as the Habs rallied with 3 3rd-period goals to make things...
Interesting. Very, very, very interesting. Interesting enough that Anthony Mantha's 4-0 marker served as the game-winner, and "interesting" enough to draw on the frayed nerves of every Wings fan.
Detroit was able to hold on and to hold off the Canadiens to earn a huge two points, pulling to within a single point of the Bruins, but the Philadelphia Flyers' 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche means that the Wings are still out of the playoff picture for the present moment.
At this point, it might be safer for the Wings to aim for the Bruins, over whom the Wings hold a game in hand, than the Wings should hope to hold off the Flyers, who seem to be on a mission from God to make the playoffs.
The Canadiens, who were out-shot 21-5 in the 2nd period, understood that it was the second frame that let them down, as they told the Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey:
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.
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.