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Anthony Mantha’s trying to sort his game out in Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Anthony Mantha's struggled a bit since being sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins, but Mantha hopes to round back into form for this weekend's playoff games against the Milwaukee Admirals:

Griffins coach Todd Nelson acknowledged the challenges that confront a player who has been sent down for the first time. It may have been tougher since Mantha, the Red Wings' No. 1 pick in 2013 (20th overall), scored twice on the power play in his 10 games, a stat that has been dissected since Detroit's power play has struggled mightily in the playoffs (1 for 17).

"Anytime you go up to the National Hockey League and come back down it's always a tough adjustment coming back down," Nelson said. "It just is. You're playing more minutes and it is different. And Anthony is a big component to our success in the playoffs."

Mantha scored twice on the power play in his first eight games with the Red Wings, but his production tailed off in his last five games (four total shots) as his ice time decreased.

"It's pretty hard to get called up and then go back down," Mantha said after Wednesday's practice. "These past three games weren't the ones I wanted them to be."


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Articles from practice: Red Wings discuss power play, approach going into Game 5

The Red Wings held an optional practice on Wednesday, and after said practice, the Wings held media availabilities in which the team addressed its power play, penalty-killing and the players and coach's takes on what it will take to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Jeff Blashill was very specifically asked about Anthony Mantha's absence and the power play going in the tank, and MLive's Brendan Savage posted a video of Blashill speaking about the power play:

Blashill was asked some hard questions--which is a good thing--at his presser, and it's good to know that he's not just getting blow-back from the press:

The Free Press's Helene St. James noted that coach Blashill isn't planning on using the recalled Xavier Ouellet for anything other than insurance at this point, either:

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Practice Tweets: Wings hold an optional skate, media availability

The Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 11:30 AM for an optional practice the morning after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and a new face joined the group, as DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji noted:

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Morning news: So you’re telling me there’s a chance

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. According to MLive's Ansar Khan, there's a chance of the Wings coming back and winning their serie with the Bolts. It's just not a big chance:

The Red Wings have trailed 3-1 in a series 20 times and come back to win only twice – in the first round in 1987 (vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs) and in 1992 (vs. the Minnesota North Stars).

Detroit has never rebounded from a 3-1 deficit when two of the potentially three final three games were on the road. Game 5 vs. the Lightning is Thursday at Amalie Arena (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

The NHL average for such comebacks is 10.1 percent – it has happened 28 times in 277 series that stood at 3-1. However, the frequency has increased – it has happened nine times since 2009.

I ws around for the North Stars series, and the rally, capped by a Sergei Fedorov goal that was the first playoff goal confirmed by video review, was one of the best memories I have of this team.

2. Via RedWingsFeed, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff wrote a rather depressing recap of the Wings' loss to Tampa Bay, suggesting that this team is removed from being the darling of the "self-proclaimed Hockeytown"...

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Red Wings recall Xavier Ouellet

From the Red Wings:

Update: From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Update #2: Here's the Wings' press release:

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It’s Not Just The Power Play

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

Go ahead and blame the power play for the big hole the Detroit Red Wings find themselves in during the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Nobody will argue.

The power play has been brutal with one goal in 21 chances after getting blanked in four opportunities Tuesday in a Game 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But as much as anything, undisciplined play and poor penalty killing hurt the Red Wings in a 3-2 loss at Joe Louis Arena that left them on the brink of elimination.

Tampa Bay scored all three of its goals on the power play, getting the game winner with less than three minutes remaining after the Red Wings battled back from a two-goal deficit to tie in the final seconds of the middle period.


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Red Wings-Lightning Game 4 wrap-up: time to climb the damn mountain of near-impossibilty

The Red Wings could not complete a rousing comeback over the Tampa Bay Lightning due to a terrible power play and a less than spectacular penalty kill in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Bolts, and now the Wings find themselves facing a 3 games to 1 deficit going into Thursday's game in Tampa Bay.

Detroit has to find a way to bring the series back to Joe Louis Arena for Game 6, because this may have been the last time that Pavel Datsyuk left the ice at the Joe:

For the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuesday's win was, to some extent, a case of "team see, team do," as USA Today's Kevin Allen noted:

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Prospect playoff news: Walleye lose; Svechnikov’s Screaming Eagles, Hicketts’ Royals eliminated

Of prospect-related note:

In playoff action, in the ECHL, despite 33 saves from Jeff Lerg, the Toledo Walleye dropped a 4-2 decision to the Reading Royals on Tuesday night, and the Walleye trail the best-of-seven series 2 games to 1. The Walleye's website posted a recap...

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Duff: Wings need more than Datsyuk and Zetterberg to compete

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned quite the damning critique of the Red Wings organization as one that is leaning too hard on its former superstars:

These aren’t your father’s Red Wings. They may still run, but they no longer gun. Detroit scored 209 regular-season goals, lowest total among the 16 playoff qualifiers. The Wings finished 25th overall in the NHL in five-on-five goals.

Now, all of this is not meant as a bash Datsyuk and Zetterberg segment. It’s more of a reality check. Check in on some other players from the era of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown is now a bottom-six forward. Long a San Jose Sharks star, Patrick Marleau today skates in their bottom-six group.

In Detroit, Datsyuk and Zetterberg are still expected to carry the mail.

When the ravages of health and time took their toll on Steve Yzerman, he was able to slide into a lesser role and still be an effective Red Wing because the young Datsyuk and Zetterberg were there to pick up the torch from him. No one has stepped forward to do likewise for Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar took a step backwards offensively this season and neither has shown to be a playoff performer. Nyquist’s Game 4 goal was his second tally in 21 playoff games.

No, it’s still Datsyuk and Zetterberg’s team and that’s why the Wings remain a team on a treadmill, seeking to find a future within their glorious past, about to exit the playoffs in the first round for the third year in a row.

Duff continues...

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This is why I hope against hope that this goes 7

I couldn't have said it any better than Fox Sports Detroit did:

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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.


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