The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/06/14 at 12:42 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' prospects had a very solid night on team-wide bases, though their individual performances were up and down.
In playoff hockey, in the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs tied their second-round series with the Drummondville Voltigeurs at 1 game apiece thanks to a 4-3 OT win, but, remarkably, Mantha was held off the scoresheet and finished at -1 the night after he scored 2 goals en route to a 3-2 OT loss.
Mantha still has 5 goals and 4 assists for 9 points in 6 playoff games played, but one hopes that Mantha played well enough to "be an asset" despite not scoring;
And in the WHL, the Kelowna Rockets have taken a 2-0 lead in their second-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds thanks to a 6-3 win on Saturday, and Marek Tvrdon posted an assist and finished at +2. Mitchell Wheaton didn't register a point.
In regular season play, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins assuaged for Friday night's 4-1 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs--the Monrtreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate--with Grand Rapids taking a TEN-round shootout decsion 2-1. The Griffins website's recap recounts the game's events...
Nathan Paetsch snapped a shot into the left corner of the net during the 10th round of the shootout on Saturday to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs at Van Andel Arena.
After Tom McCollum and Hamilton’s Dustin Tokarksi each stopped eight of their first nine shooters, Paetsch put the Griffins ahead and McCollum stoned Morgan Ellis on the other end to seal the victory and ignite the crowd of 10,006.
With their first point earned by virtue of the tie at the end of regulation, the Griffins (45-21-2-4, 96 pts.) clinched at least a top-four playoff seed and home ice in the upcoming Western Conference Quarterfinals. Grand Rapids, which continues to lead Chicago by seven points in the Midwest Division race, will face road tests on Thursday and Sunday in Charlotte before returning for its regular season home finale on Friday, April 18 versus Lake Erie.
After receiving March’s Huntington Player of the Month award prior to faceoff, Andrej Nestrasil appropriately scored the game’s first goal just 3:03 in. He set up shop in front of Tokarski and redirected Paetsch’s shot from the point just inside the left post.
That goal held up for more than 40 minutes, until the Bulldogs (31-33-1-6) notched the equalizer during a power play 3:52 into the third. From behind the net, Maxime Macenauer managed to stuff the puck between McCollum’s left skate and the post.
With 5:40 remaining, Hamilton’s Drew Schiestel was whistled off on a double-minor for high-sticking Louis-Marc Aubry, but the Griffins could not capitalize on their four-minute power play despite possessing the puck in the Bulldogs’ end for nearly all of the advantage.
The game progressed to overtime, where Grand Rapids was still unable to dent Tokarski even though it enjoyed a 5-1 shot advantage, including a point-blank blast by Paetsch that the netminder swallowed at the buzzer.
Of the first 18 shooters in the skills competition, only Teemu Pulkkinen in round four and Hamilton’s Patrick Holland in a do-or-die fifth-round attempt were able to put anything past the two stellar goalies. McCollum finished the game with 22 saves while Tokarski registered 36 in the hard-luck loss.
Notes: Tonight’s attendance of 10,006, combined with the pre-sale for their April 18 home finale, guarantees that the Griffins will finish with their highest average attendance since the 1999-00 season (8,819) and their first 8,000-plus attendance since 2000-01 (8,022), which was their final season of IHL membership. Grand Rapids, which has also eclipsed the 300,000 mark in total attendance (301,521) for the first time since 2000-01, currently ranks second in the 30-team AHL with an average attendance of 8,149.
Three Stars: 1. GR Nestrasil (goal); 2. HAM Tokarski (SOL, 36 saves); 3. GR Paetsch (assist, shootout-clinching goal)
Update: The Grand Rapids Press's Jeff Chaney did file a recap:
After a scoreless overtime period the teams went to an extended shootout. In the 10th round, Grand Rapids defenseman Nathan Paetsch was able to get a goal by Hamilton goalie Dustin Tokarski, while Griffins goalie Tom McCollum stopped a shot by Bulldog Morgan Ellis. The stop gave Grand Rapids the 2-1 win in front of an excited crowd at Van Andel Arena Saturday night.
Paetsch says he felt comfortable as he approached the puck for that shot.
“I think the (pressure) gets less after (each round), because everybody else missed,” Paetsch said. “I had nothing to lose.”
Grand Rapids earned its 45th win of the season and clinched a top four seed and home ice in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
“I don't think a game like this frustrates you,” Paetsch said. “This is good, one-goal games, because that is playoff hockey. We had a lot of those games in the playoffs, where we out-shot teams the same amount as we did tonight, but won those one-goal games.”
Griffins center Andrej Nestrasil, who scored the game's first goal of the night just over three minutes into the first period, echoed those sentiments.
“I think this was a perfect example of a playoff game,” Nestrasil said. “This is how it goes in the playoffs. That was good preparation, even though they scored and tied it 1-1, we stayed with our game and kept rolling. It doesn't matter if we get two points after 60 minutes, or a shootout.”
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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.