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‘Three Things’: On the Mule in Tampa Bay, Ericsson’s errors and Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan

Of Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this afternoon:

1. From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose and MLive's Ansar Khan:

2. You may take these comments, relayed by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, for what you will:

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Samuelssen weighs in on the importance of ‘The Streak’

From the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen:

Joe Louis Arena was loud Sunday night, as loud as some had heard in a long time. I was down there Tuesday night and watched as eager fans came pouring through the doors on a pleasant spring evening. The place was packed. The energy was high. That crowd wasn’t there for the streak. If you were watching on TV or listening on the radio, you weren’t doing so because of the streak. Fans were locked in because, following Game 3, there was a feeling of life in this team. They took the Lightning to seven games last season. This season, without Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman, why couldn’t the Wings take another step?

Even after the Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead and the outlook was bleak, there still was a slight buzz and a slight hope. Darren Helm’s goal brought things back to a fever pitch, and Gustav Nyquist’s goal in the final seconds of the second had everyone just as loud as they were when Darren McCarty skated onto the ice during pregame festivities.

There always are what-ifs in a playoff hockey game. The biggest of Game 4 was when Dylan Larkin’s shot that bounced off of the far post and hovered over the goal line on the way back. If that goes in, who knows? Perhaps instead of talking about of firings and dismantling, we’re looking ahead to the second round. But we’re not. The Lightning has proved to be the better team.

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 5 game-day articles: Lightning aim for R&R; Wings focus on offense

Updated 3x at 3:07 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning tangle in a must-win game for Detroit this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM).

Per news from the morning skate, the Lightning are likely to stick with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen this evening, while Alexey Marchenko won't play for the Wings.

In terms of game-day articles, the Lightning rather desperately want to take out the Wings so that they may rest and regroup for their following series, as they told the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith:

"It's not a race to three," veteran center Brian Boyle said. "It's a race to four.

The Lightning played a record 26 games - of a possible 28 - in last year's playoffs, which may or may not have had an impact. There's a chance now with a win tonight to get potentially a week before the next series.

On a scale of 1-10, is rest a motivating factor?

"10," coach Jon Cooper said. "Any chance in the playoffs you can get a break, you want to take advantage of it."

Smith also penned an article regarding Victor Hedman's status as a 30-minute man:

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A happy Yzerman flashback from Sportsnet

Quoting Sportsnet: Looking ahead at tonight's game between Steve Yzerman's Lightning and his former team the Red Wings, we go back 17 years to April 21st 1999 when he became the all-time hat trick leader in Red Wings history.

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 5 morning skate Tweets: Bolts want to finish series; no changes(?) for DET

Updated 5x at 12:48 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face a must-win situation against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM), with the Wings facing a 3-games-to-1 deficit.

The Lightning took to the ice first for their morning skate at Amalie Arena, as noted by TampaBayLighning.com's Bryan Burns...

All non-injured #TBLightning players present and accounted for at today's morning skate. #DETvsTBL


#TBLightning morning skate lines:


#TBLightning morning skate D-pairings:
Taormina mixing in

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Red Wings Must Win On The Road Tonight

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Amalie Arena has been like a home away from home for the Detroit Red Wings during the regular season, with so much red and white in the crowd.

The Red Wings have their share of supporters in the stands in Tampa Bay during the playoffs, too. But it hasn't helped them lately.

The Lightning have won five in a row at home vs. the Red Wings, regular season and playoffs, and are 10-2-0 in their past 12 at Amalie against Detroit.

It's a trend the Red Wings need to end Thursday in Game 5 of this first-round series to keep their season alive.

"I think we've had some good games there, especially recently in the playoffs, games that we very well could have won," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. "I think our focus has got to be to come out with a good start. They're a team that plays well at home, like most teams in the league. We've just got to come out and try to stay out of the box and play them five-on-five, and when we get opportunities to score we've got to make the most of those."

The team that has scored first has won all four games.


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Prospect playoff news: Toledo Walleye tie series with Reading at 2-2

Right now the ECHL's website is down and the Toledo Walleye's website is down, but you should know that the Toledo Walleye defeated the Reading Royals 5-3, tying the teams' first-round series at 2 games apiece. The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe offers a strong recap:

The Walleye executed and cashed in early in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and used that momentum to tie their opening-round playoff series against Reading.

Veteran center A.J. Jenks got the Walleye going with a goal 2:39 into the first period.

Jenks added a power-play goal just 39 seconds into the second period and Toledo went on to win 3-1 Wednesday over the Royals to even the best-of-7 series.

For the fourth time in the series, Toledo put immediate pressure on the Royals and for the second time they capitalized with an early goal.

Reading forward Brandon Alderson scored to make it 2-1 late in the second period before a crowd of 2,824 at Santander Arena.

Walleye rookie goalie Jake Paterson, who won Game 2 with 23 saves on 26 shots, was excellent throughout.

Paterson made 25 saves on 26 shots. Down 2-1 in the series, Paterson called it a must-win.

“Coming in the whole team took the mentality that this was a Game 7,” Paterson said. “And to come out with a win is huge. We’re excited to get back to Toledo and hope to keep it going.”

Monroe continues...

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 5 set-up: a pair of teams in vastly different spaces clash tonight

The Detroit Red Wings face a do-or-die situation against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/MSNBC/CBC/97.1 FM). If the Red Wings win, their series against Tampa Bay will continue on Sunday; if the Wings lose, they're out of the playoffs and face a long summer of change and preparation for the 2016-17 season.

The Lightning and Red Wings took very different approaches to their "off day" on Wednesday, with the Red Wings engaging in all but a spat with a stiff-questioning media corps after an optional skate, and the Lightning engaging in a coach-and-two-players conference call after choosing to truly take the day off.

The Lightning did speak with the media about the strength that they've drawn from their penalty-kill, as NHL.com's Corey Long noted...

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Here’s a Griffins-Admirals video preview

The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a video preview of this weekend's first-round, best-of-five series between the Milwaukee Admirals and the Griffins:

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Criticism of the coach is healthy and good; blaming Blashill for everything is a bit much

I don't agree with about half the decisions that the Red Wings' coaching and managerial staff make, just like you, but my support of the Red Wings isn't conditional upon agreement with the team, so I soldier on.

The Free Press's Drew Sharp penned a column suggesting that this playoff round could prove that hiring Jeff Blashill to replace Mike Babcock could have been a mistake, and I think that's overly harsh. I don't know if anyone can expect a new coach to suddenly have all the answers that his predecessor did not, and the fact that Blashill makes so many Babcock-like decisions only surprises those who forget that Babcock hired Blashill and spoke with Blashill almost every day while the two were in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

This has been a learning year--a year of both the mostly formerly AHL-employed coaching staff learning hard lessons about working in the NHL, the team learning about its coach, and both parties learning about the organizational weaknesses that no new coach would be able to fix.

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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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