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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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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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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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