The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/24/13 at 03:57 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings face a task-and-a-half in following up their 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in attempting to hand a pissed-off Ducks team its second home loss (since January) in a row tonight (8 PM EDT, FSD/Prime Ticket/1270 AM)...
As of 3:45 PM EDT, it appears that neither the Ducks nor the Wings held morning skates due to the 5 PM local time start for Sunday's game. TSN reports that the Ducks have signed Radek Dvorak, who'll have to clear waivers before playing for the Ducks as Dvorak spent this past season in Switzerland...
And NHL.com's Curtis Zupke's confirming that neither team held a morning skate while offering prospective lineups for both teams:
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Drew Miller
Justin Abdelkader - Pavel Datsyuk - Johan Franzen
Damien Brunner - Joakim Andersson - Daniel Cleary
Gustav Nyquist - Cory Emmerton - Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson
Jakub Kindl - Ian White
Brendan Smith - Brian Lashoff
Injured: Darren Helm (back), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Kyle Quincey (facial fractures)
Scratched: Patrick Eaves, Kent Huskins, Carlo Colaiacovo
Notes: Colaiacovo was taken off injured reserve Saturday but is not expected to play. Tootoo could return to the lineup after he was scratched in favor of Eaves on Friday. The win Friday improved Howard's career record against the Ducks to 8-3-1.
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Kyle Palmieri - Peter Holland - Teemu Selanne
Daniel Winnik - Saku Koivu - Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey - David Steckel - Emerson Etem
Sheldon Souray - Francois Beauchemin
Luca Sbisa - Bryan Allen
Cam Fowler - Toni Lydman
Injured: Nick Bonino (lower body)
Scratched: Ben Lovejoy, Brad Staubitz
Notes: Anaheim’s defense was uncharacteristically irresponsible with the puck Friday and Lovejoy could go back in after Sbisa and Allen were each a minus-3. Fasth allowed three goals on 11 shots and was beaten badly on Detroit's first goal.
Neither team had a morning skate Sunday, so who starts in goal is questionable. Hiller is just 3-6-1 lifetime against the Red Wings. But with Anaheim playing the San Jose Sharks on Monday, coach Bruce Boudreau has an interesting choice to make if he's going to split the starts.
The Wings will flly to Phoenix immediately after the game to tangle with the Coyotes on Monday (10 PM EDT start, FSD/FS Arizona), so it's hard to say whether they'll do much in the morning skate department tomorrow.
Via RedWingsFeed, the Wings' website has posted its game-day preview, and Ken Kal may or may not poke fun at the fact that it was 80 degrees at this time last year, but this year, Southeastern Michigan's enjoying weather in the high 30's and low 40's today, with a "warm-up" into the high 40's expected later this week:
In tangentially-related game-day stories: MLive's Ansar Khan and Brendan Savage hope that the NHL makes sure to schedule at least a couple of home-and-home games when the Wings move East next season:
ANSAR KHAN: Yes, I think playing some home-and-home sets would help rekindle old rivalries with the likes of Toronto and Montreal and perhaps spark some rivalries with other Eastern Conference clubs.
And I suspect we could see more of this next season, when it'll be easier to schedule these types of back-to-back games against opponents in the same time zone as Detroit.
BRENDAN SAVAGE: I think this is a great idea.
Home-and-home games would create more interest in both cities and sometimes hard feelings can carry over from game to game so the rematch might be a little more hard fought and chippy. Most fans love that stuff.
Given that many teams in the East are close in proximity, the travel wouldn't be all that grueling and if teams are going to play on back-to-back nights why not let them play each other?
The Red Wings' Game Day Blog offers Ken Kal's Keys to the Game...
Get More Solid Goaltending - Jimmy Howard will need to be sharp again. The Ducks will come after him and the Red Wings hard, especially after the last game.
Play Well in Front of Howard - The defense needs to be in the right position. Block shots, protect the puck, and get the puck to the forwards to send them on the rush.
Continue Balanced Scoring - Everyone contributed in the last game. Detroit will need more of the same in tonight's game, too.
And today's historical notes are as awesome as awesome can be:
On This Day in Red Wings History...
On March 24, 1936:Mud Bruneteau scored at 16:30 of the sixth overtime as Detroit defeated Montreal in Game 1 of the NHL semifinals.
March 24, 1956: Ted Lindsay, who received a death-threat from Maple Leafs' fans earlier in the day, scored the game-winner to lift the Red Wings to a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup semifinals in Toronto.
And the Windsor Star's Bob Duff duly noted that Wings coach Mike Babcock's quite happy with the play of a pair of the team's "rookies":
As the club prepared to face the Anaheim Ducks Sunday night at the Honda Center, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock offered praise for a couple of his players – defenceman Jakub Kindl and forward Joakim Andersson.
“He’s playing better,” Babcock said of Kindl, who is a plus-six and has two assists in his last four games. “It’s a positive thing for him.”
Babcock has frequently questioned Kindl’s compete level in the past, but appears happier with that part of his game now.
“He’s always been good offensively, he’s being way grittier and more determined,’ Babcock said. “That to me is the key for him being successful. If he continues to do that then he’s earned himself confidence. When you feel confident you feel good about yourself and I think every athlete wants to feel that.”
Andersson was supposed to be a brief injury recall from AHL Grand Rapids, but he’s played 21 games since his recall, posting 3-4-7 totals and a plus-six rating.
“We called Andy up for a game,” Babcock said. “He’s still playing, just because he grabbed hold of something.”
Babcock can’t cite one aspect of what’s made Andersson and NHL regular, but believes that Andersson’s overall game is the key to his success.
“It’s his hockey-sense,” Babcock said. “He competes hard, he understands the game and he’s a big body. He knows how to play. You can put him on the ice, and you’re not scared. He seems to get points. He’s just a hockey player.”
It bears mentioning that Andersson spent his first years as an "adult" hockey player playing for the Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Eliteserien, so even before he came over to the U.S. and played with the Griffins for two seasons, he'd received a boatload of pro hockey experience--to the tune of 114 Eliteserien games.
CURSE YOU ZACH PARISE!
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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.