The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/10/11 at 05:04 PM ET
Updated 3x—it sounds like a Wednesday-Saturday start per the Freep/News/MLive, but Trevor Thompson from Fox Sports Detroit says the series will start on Thursday: The Detroit Red Wings played an absolutely fantastic, playoff-caliber game on Sunday, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3, earning a playoff date with the Phoenix Coyotes.
If the Dallas Stars defeat Minnesota in regulation or OT, the Hawks are out, but that doesn’t matter to the Red Wings. What matters to Detroit is that they finally matched the intensity, desperation, attention to detail and effort of a team playing for its playoff life, and the Wings served notice to themselves, more than the rest of the NHL and the Coyotes, that Detroit is not going away without a fight.
Datsyuk and Lidstrom were phenomenal, Jimmy Howard showed tremendous poise and the Wings got back to basics, playing zone-coverage defense instead of chasing the puck carrier, they were efficient in moving the puck through the neutral zone with speed and without as many turnovers as usual, and they sustained possession and control of the puck in the offensive zone, went to the front of the net like they meant it, retrieved rebounds and generated secondary scoring chances. Yes, Howard was bumped a few times and yes, the Franzen non-call was cheap, but the Wings overcame the refereeing and, perhaps moreover, overcame themselves.
More in a real recap later.
Update: According to Versus’ Steve Lepore, NBC wants to air the second Wings-Coyotes game on Saturday at 1 PM EDT, so we should assume that the Wings and Yotes will open up on Thursday at the Joe.
Update #2: For your video-watching pleasure, here’s Bert’s big hit and Datsyuk’s deke-and-dangle goal via the Red Wings’ website:
Here’s Bert’s hit…
And here’s Pavel being Pavel:
Update #3: MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Free Press’s Helene St. James and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan note that the Wings went 2-1-and-1 vs. Phoenix, and they say that the Wings expect to open on Wednesday, not Thursday;
And the Coyotes’ website says that the Yotes will being to prepare for their series against Detroit on Monday.
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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.