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Red Wings-Flyers quick take, take 2: devastating and deserved

The Red Wings needed this one, plain and simple. Win against the Flyers, and Detroit would be 5 points clear of Philadelphia in the Wild Card race; lose, and the Flyers would be 1 point back with 2 games in hand.

Detroit lost 4-3, playing perhaps the worst first period I've seen in ten years, being out-shot 23-3, and Detroit surrendered 2-0, 3-2 and 4-2 leads before attempting to rally late on a Tomas Tatar goal that just wasn't followed up by the kind of urgency that the Wings needed to tie the game--instead, it was followed up by a Gustav Nyquist slashing penalty that was completely needless and selfish.

Anthony Mantha was superb in his debut (4 shots, 7 attempts, a hit, a giveaway and a takeaway in 14:45), Pavel Datsyuk was superb, Tomas Tatar did what he could, as did Henrik Zetterberg, Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader, who wasn't physical enough, and...That was about it.

Dumb penalties by Smith, DeKeyser, Nyquist and Richards helped pave the Flyers' way to momentum, but it was Philadelphia's even-strength scoring, taking advantage of a Petr Mrazek who both made amazing saves and gave up soft goals via defensive miscues to suck the wind out of the Wings, and the Wings just couldn't or wouldn't find the fire necessary to complete necessary rallies.

Now the Wings will need help to make the playoffs. They're not completely in charge of their own fate any more.

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Evening news: On the playoff streak, Mantha and Larkin vs. Gostisbehere

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reports that the Wings' younger players are very aware of the pressure they face in sustaining the Wings' playoff streak, but Brendan Smith says that it isn't constantly on their minds:

"It’s really important,” said defenseman Brendan Smith of making the postseason for 25 consecutive seasons. “You try not to think about it, look at it, you just go out and play the game. But in the end of the day, it’s in the back of your head.”

This position of being on the edge of playoff race isn’t anything new. The Red Wings haven’t clinched a playoff berth until the final week of the regular season the last three seasons, scrambling until the final days before securing a spot.

So this season is just typical in the parity-driven NHL.

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Red Wings-Flyers game-day articles: Flyers want to ‘control destiny’ vs. Mantha, Wings

Updated 4x at 3:20 PM: The Detroit Red Wings battle the Philadelphia Flyers this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD in Michigan, CSN Philly/NBCSN everywhere else/97.1 FM), and the morning skate was quite eventful as Anthony Mantha "made his debut" ahead of a game that could place the Wings 5 points ahead of the Flyers if they win, or only 1 point ahead of Philly if the Wings happen to lose this evening's affair.

The Courier-Post's Dave Isaac  listed the Flyers' lineup...

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On Mantha’s slow(er) road to the NHL

If I were to chronicle Anthony Mantha's journal from the Val-d'Or Foreurs to the NHL, I'd suggest that we shouldn't have expected Mantha to make the NHL as fast as we did, and that some of the "disappointment" that Jimmy Devellano expressed regarding Mantha's rookie pro season just wasn't necessary.

Mantha came to the Red Wings in the 2013 draft as someone who slipped to the 18th spot as a raw, unpolished sniper who didn't play a complete or competitive game, but had loads of potential...

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That’s Philly for ya (kidding, kidding!)

While the Flyers were announcing that they would host USA Hockey's Top Prospects Game next season, Flyers GM president Paul Holmgren got a little...Flyer-y...


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On Mantha’s ‘terms’

The Red Wings are still wrappng up their post-morning skate media availabilities, but this Tweet from MLive's Ansar Khan set Wings Twitter on fire when it was posted a few minutes ago:

This Tweet helped explain things:

The Red Wings have played 69 games, so "long-term" might be a month. Why can the Wings keep Mantha up at the NHL level with Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen sitting?

They can do so because the 23-man roster limit disappears after the trade deadline. However, teams are also only allowed to recall up to 4 players for a non-roster emergency (a situation in which they can dress less than 18 skaters or 2 goalies), and the Wings have already called up Mantha, and may call up a defenseman if needed, so it makes sense to have the Wings' call-ups stick around.

In Mantha's case, a little learning (Khan reports that Mantha will be playing on a line with Datsyuk and Tatar to start tonight, and will get net-front time on the PP as well) can't hurt, and keeping him around facilitates that learning process.

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Red Wings-Flyers morning skate Tweets and articles: Mantha w/ Datsyuk; Mason vs. Mrazek

The Detroit Red Wings play a game of significant importance tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 PM EDT start on FSD in Michigan/CSN Philly or CSN Philly on NBCSN everywhere else/97.1 FM), and our friends from CBS Philadelphia remind us that, well, it's Philly that the Wings are playing:

On Tuesday night, the Flyers will host the Red Wings at 7:30 p.m in the team’s most critical game of the year. Here are eight reasons why we should be Flyer’d up for tonight’s game.

  • It’s a potentially post-season relevant sporting event in Philadelphia.
  • It’s the Red Wings. And they’re annoying.
  • They have made the playoffs for 24 straight years, the longest current streak of post-season appearances in North American pro sports.

The Toronto Star's Kevin McGran suggests that tonight's game is "one to watch"...

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Big Game Tonight

from the Philadelphia Flyers,

- Tonight’s game could leave the Flyers one point or five points back of a wild card spot to the Red Wings… Despite a loss on Saturday, the Flyers have earned points in their last four games (3-0-1), and 10 of their last 12 games (8-2-2)… The Flyers have recorded 17 goals in their last four games, while the defense has produced 21 points (5g-16a) in the last seven games… The Flyers have recorded a power-play goal in six of the eight contests, including their last three games… The Red Wings come into tonight having dropped four of their last six games, going 2-4-0… They also open up a four-game road swing tonight and haven’t had much success on the road lately, dropping eight of their last 10 road games to go 2-6-2 since the start of February… The Red Wings have had 58 percent of their games (40-of-69) decided by one goal, which is the most in the NHL and posting a 23-6-11 mark.

- This is the second of three meetings and first and only meeting at home against the Red Wings this season… The Flyers earned a 2-1 shootout win in Detroit on Jan. 19… The Flyers own a 10-game home winning streak over the Red Wings with their last loss coming on Jan. 25, 1997 - In that game, Rod Brind’Amour scored the only Flyers goal and current GM Ron Hextall was in net… The Flyers have outscored the Wings, 16-4 in their last three meetings in Philadelphia, and overall have outscored Detroit, 44-17 during the 10-game streak… Of those 10 games, the Flyers have scored four goals or more seven times.


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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

Mantha's much-anticipated debut

What do the Red Wings have in Anthony Mantha? He was their mostly highly regarded prospect in years after tearing up the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, boasting a combination of size (6-5, 205) and pure scoring ability, the kind of player that usually doesn't fall to where Detroit drafts.

But his star dimmed considerably after a tough first pro season in Grand Rapids in 2014-15. It didn't help that he missed two months with a broken leg suffered in the prospects tournament.

He has steadily improved since then and on Monday earned a promotion. He'll make his long-awaited NHL debut Tuesday in Philadelphia. It's a pressure-packed game, but the Red Wings could use some size up front and need all the help they can get offensively. The Red Wings should maximize Mantha's abilities by playing him with skilled linemates.

Streak of futility in Philly

The City of Philadelphia has been an absolute nightmare for the Red Wings since their most recent victory there – in the 1997 Stanley Cup finals. Since then, the Red Wings have lost 10 consecutive games in Philly, getting outscored 44-17.

No better time than Tuesday to snap that streak (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit). The Red Wings are three points ahead of the Flyers in the race for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but Philadelphia has two games in hand.

read on

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Krupa: Mantha ever-improving

With the preponderance of Anthony Mantha articles today, there's no need to pile on for the sake of piling on, but the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa earns a topic of his own for a superb profile of an improving player, told by Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson and Mr. Mantha himself:

“I’ve liked his season,” Nelson said. “I think early on we were working on consistency with him moving his feet throughout the game, skating well, hard on the forecheck, using his speed to drive wide on defenders.

“We wanted to see that, and we’d seen it in spurts in a game. We wanted to see it for a full game and we wanted to see it in games in succession. And I think he’s improved quite a bit.

“Now, we’re starting to see him pressure guys on the back-check, strip pucks and go the other way,” said Nelson, who coached 51 games for the Oilers last season before the Red Wings hired him to coach their AHL affiliate.

“I think he’s stronger down low in the corners than he was at the start of the year, where he’s hanging on to it and forcing teams to take the puck off him. And he’s doing a better job of protecting it.

“Before, he was a bit loose with the puck and exposed it, and the play would die with him. But now, he’s keeping plays alive. I like where he’s at right now.”

Krupa continues...

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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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