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Red Wings at the Worlds: Setting up Thursday’s Quarterfinals

The Red Wings' representatives at the World Championship will be busy in the Quarterfinals tomorrow: Danny DeKeyser, Jimmy Howard and Dylan Larkin's Team USA will battle Finland at 10:15 AM EDT, on the NBCSN, and Petr Mrazek's Czechs will battle Russia, also at 10:15 AM EDT.

MLive's Ansar Khan set up the U.S.-Finland game from a Red Wings-centric perspective...

Coach Jeff Blashill apparently made the right adjustments following a 2-1 loss to Germany. The team has since outscored opponents 30-12, including a 5-3 victory over heralded Russia, which enabled the U.S. to finish first in Group A with 18 points.

Dylan Larkin, an alternate captain, has been a catalyst. He leads the team with eight assists and his 10 points (including two goals) is second to Johnny Gaudreau's 12 points (six goals, six assists). Larkin, who is playing center, leads U.S. forwards in average ice time and is playing in all situations. His plus-7 rating is tied for the team lead with Clayton Keller.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who struggled this season, has been solid as a stay-at-home, puck-moving defenseman. He has a plus-5 rating in seven games.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard has a 1.81 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in five outings.

A victory sends Team USA to Saturday's semifinals. The U.S. has won the bronze medal in 2013 and 2015.

Khan continues, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with coach Blashill regarding the performances of Team USA's Red Wings participants:

“You have to find chemistry quick, and then you add the challenge of adding guys at different times and that can disrupt your chemistry or give you opportunities for new chemistry,” Blashill told NHL Network Radio Wednesday. “We tried to find some chemistry, we tried to find forward pairs and keep them together and we’ve been able to do that throughout the tournament.”

Larkin’s play has been a huge plus for Team USA. After a good ending to an otherwise subpar regular season, Larkin has continued to excel at the world championships with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in seven games with a plus-7 plus-minus rating.

“It was important for Dylan to play here. He was playing his best hockey at the end of the year for us,” Blashill said. “He went through some challenges this year, and to me, they were expected. It was part of the process. Everything went so well the first year, I knew there would be times this year he was going to have to learn some lessons and be that complete 200-foot player that I know he is.

“By the end of the year, he was a way better player than at the beginning of the year. He really put himself into position to be a great, two-way player and that’s played out through this tournament. He’s been going out against the other team’s best players and been able to keep them off the scoreboard while contributing offensively.

“I’m certainly happy for that from a Detroit perspective.”

Howard has starred in net, with a .923 save percentage and 1.81 goals-against average.

Kulfan also continues, and he cites the NHL Network's radio interview with Blashill:

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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.