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Evening news: Game-day previews; meet Bailey Seagraves; Red Wings discuss need for strong starts

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video. It's superb:

2. The Free Press's George Sipple spoke with the Wings' practice goalie for this morning, Bailey Seagraves:

3. As did the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

“I woke up to a call from my goalie coach I work with,” explained Seagraves, 19, from Hilliard, Ohio, who posted a 5.52 goals-against average and .869 save percentage with the Springfield Pics of the U.S. Premier Hockey League this season. “He gave me a call and said they needed a guy. So I was running getting ready and came down here as quick as I could. You can’t pass up an opportunity like this. It’s pretty amazing.”

Admitting to being a fan of Detroit goalies Howard and Mrazek, Seagraves wasn’t shy about acknowledging he was a little star struck as he suited up in the visitor’s dressing room with the rest of the Red Wings.

“When I first got here, some of the guys came up and said hi, the coaching staff and stuff,” Seagraves said. “It was pretty incredible. They’re such down to Earth guys. They made it real easy for me to come in and have a lot of fun.”

He also noted quickly the step up in competition once he took to the ice.

“Oh yeah, it’s a whole other level,” Seagraves said. “The releases. You’ve got to be real sharp out there. They can all trick you, hold it, reach out and put it in the net. I see why they all play in the NHL. It’s pretty amazing. It’s an incredible experience, a lot of fun.”

4. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan duly noted that the Wings understand the importance of scoring the first goal tonight...

The Red Wings have allowed the game’s first goal in all seven games in the month of March. They’re 2-5 in those games.

“It’s a tough league to come back,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “You want to try to get the lead or at least try to play a strong game at the start.”

The Red Wings are 6-15-3 when trailing after the first period, 6-19-1 when trailing after two periods.

“Scoring is big but not allowing teams to get up a couple of goals is big, too,” Abdelkader said.

Blashill felt the start wasn’t the issue Tuesday as much as how the Red Wings played after Philadelphia scored early.

“We have to do a better job of being resilient in those situations,” Blashill said.

5. MLive's Brendan Savage filed a game-day article...

• The Red Wings will play 11 teams during their final 12 games as they attempt to make the playoffs for the 25th straight season. Montreal is on the schedule twice, once at home and once on the road. In 26 games against those teams this season, the Red Wings have an 11-12-3 record. Seven games are on the road – including the next three beginning tonight in Columbus – and five are at home.

• The Red Wings have a winning record against just three teams they play during the stretch run – Tampa Bay (2-1), Buffalo (3-1) and Toronto (2-1). They've split their games with Columbus (1-1), Montreal (1-1), Boston (1-1-1) and the Rangers (1-1). They have a losing record against Florida (0-1-1), Pittsburgh (0-2), Minnesota (0-1) and Philadelphia (0-1-1).

• Of the 11 teams the Red Wings will play in their final 12 games, seven are holding down playoff spots – Florida, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Boston, Philadelphia and the Rangers. The Flyers lead the Red Wings by one point in the Eastern Conference standings with one game in hand. The Red Wings' other four opponents are the four worst teams in the East and only Montreal – an extreme long shot – has a remote chance at reaching the postseason.

6. And he spoke with the players and coach regarding the team's starts:

"I think we're confident in the sense that we know we can do this," said defenseman Mike Green. "Obviously it starts tonight with Columbus. We have to make sure we take the energy out of their building here in the first period and get off to a good start. But we have the composure and the confidence, like I said, in the dressing room to get it done."

The Red Wings are coming off a 4-3 loss Tuesday in Philadelphia, where they had their worst first period in recent memory. The Flyers jumped to a 2-0 lead heading to the middle period after outshooting the Red Wings 23-3 in opening 20 minutes. That matched the largest one-period shot differential in the NHL this season.

During the last 14 games, the Red Wings have been outshot 166-116 in the first period, they've been outscored 14-4 and they've trailed after the first period eight times.

The Flyers came within two shots of tying their team record for shots in one period but Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn't think his team was outplayed as badly as the statistics seem to indicate.

"You look at the shots, I understand how everybody says 'Oh, you didn't start well,'" Blashill said. "We started fine. Our five 5-6 minutes were good. We had a chance in front of the net. I thought we had two opportunities to draw penalties that didn't get called. That's the way it goes.

"Once we got scored on, we got scored on right away again and we got on our heels a little bit. We gotta do a better job of being resilient in those situations. But to be honest with you, we're looking forward to a big game here tonight.

"All you can do is go out and play great hockey. That's all you can do. Do we want to get the first goal? Absolutely. Would we like to get the second goal? Absolutely. But what you need to do is from the drop of the puck for 60 straight minutes play great hockey."

7. Among DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's notes:

MANTHA’S IMMEDIATE FUTURE: Rookie Anthony Mantha said he expects to stay with the Wings as long as he continues to do the things that got him his call up. The 21-year-old made his NHL debut Tuesday in Philadelphia.

“Well, I talked to Blash quite a few times,” Mantha said. “He told that if I kept playing the way I was it could be for the rest of the season. But it’s not for sure yet, so I just need to prove to them that they need to keep me, and that’s how I need to focus and play my game.”

Mantha said his nerves today were far better than they were Tuesday for his first game.

“Yeah, obviously less pressure,” he said. “I know what the schedule’s gonna be like today, and it’s a little bit different than down in Grand Rapids. So for me it’s just getting used to it one time and then the routine starts up after that.”

KRONWALL SKATES: For the first time since suffering a sprained knee last Saturday against the New York Rangers, defenseman Niklas Kronwall was back on the ice.

“Pretty good. Hopefully getting there,” Kronwall told reporters. “It was another good day. Hopefully another good one tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”

Asked if he had any limitations, Kronwall only said, “It feels pretty good.”

The original diagnosis was that Kronwall would miss 1-3 weeks. Being back on the ice is a good sign, but he hesitated to guess when he may return to the lineup.

Roose continues...

8. In rink news, from Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:

The first enormous steel roof truss for the new Detroit Red Wings arena was lifted into place this week.

The typical weight of such a piece is about 250,000 pounds, according to a statement today from Olympia Development of Michigan, the real estate unit of Red Wings owner Mike and Marian Ilitch’s business holdings.

Work began on the arena in September 2014, and the building is to open in September 2017 at a cost of $627.5 million.

ODM provided an update on construction milestones thus far:

  •     3,500 pieces of structural steel have been placed.
  •     7,000 pieces of structural steel yet to be placed.
  •     130 pieces of precast concrete have been placed, with another 760-plus to go.
  •     27,000 cubic yards of foundation concrete have been poured, with another 46,000 cubic yards to go.
  •     70 of 96 foundation piers have been drilled for the buildings that will form the arena along Woodward Avenue and Henry Street.

9. Via RedWingsFeed, Hockey's Future no longer lists Dylan Larkin as its #1 Calder Trophy candidate. Artemi Panarin's taken the top spot:

2. (1) Dylan Larkin, C, Detroit Red Wings
Drafted in the first round (15th overall) in 2014

Dylan Larkin is a dynamo with his skating speed and high energy level and is a constant presence in all three zones when he is on the ice. Detroit had an up-and-down month in February, with Larkin’s numbers reflecting that struggle as he scored four goals with two assists but was -3 in 13 games.

The impressive thing about the 19-year-old is that, even when he is not scoring, he finds ways to contribute. Skating with veterans Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader on the Red Wings’ top line, he has provided the puck retrieving and hustle elements to complement the playmaking Zetterberg and the big-bodied Abdelkader.

Detroit is currently fourth in the Atlantic Division and fighting to hold off Philadelphia and Carolina for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The second-leading scorer for the Red Wings behind Zetterberg, Larkin has scored 20 goals with 20 assists in 68 games and is +17 with 34 penalty minutes, averaging 16:35 minutes of ice time.

10. And the Griffins posted a video of a Martin Frk wrist shot breaking a goalie's stick:

11. Update: From MLive's Brendan Savage again:

Nice wakeup call: Petr Mrazek is ill and wasn't at the rink for this morning's skate so the Red Wings needed another goalie. That provided the opportunity of a lifetime for local teenager Bailey Seagraves, a Junior A goalie who was planning to study for the ACT when he instead was told by his goalie coach to report to Nationwide Arena. Seagraves admitted to being star struck when he joined the Red Wings on the ice. "When I first got here, some of the guys came up and said hi, the coaching staff and stuff," said Seagraves, 19. "It was pretty incredible. They're such down-to-Earth guys. They made it real easy for me to come in and have a lot of fun. You can't pass up an opportunity like this. It's pretty amazing." Seagraves said his favorite goalies include Mrazek and Jimmy Howard, who will start tonight.

New look for Blue Jackets? While the Red Wings will be without Mrazek and Niklas Kronwall (knee), Columbus lost defenseman Jack Johnson for the season after he underwent shoulder surgery today. They also recalled forwards Oliver Bjorkstrand and Michael Chaput from Erie of the AHL. Both could play vs. the Red Wings. "It doesn't matter," Howard said. "It's us against Columbus. When it comes to us versus the Blue Jackets it's a rivalry game. Anything can happen out there. They're always fun, intense games. Just because they're banged up doesn't mean they're going to go out there and (not) work. That's what their coach demands out of them every single night and that's what they're gonna do."

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WingedRider's avatar

What an experience for Bailey Seagraves!!!  The first period low goals scored is something I can’t even pretend to comment on.  Just strange

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 03/17/16 at 06:49 PM ET

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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.