Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Coyotes Game 3 set-up: Discipline’s an issue for both teams

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight (10:30 PM EDT, CBC/Versus/FS Arizona/FSD/WXYT) basically focusing upon the same things that the Coyotes will allow them to climb out of a 2-0 series deficit—better discipline, cutting down on traffic, controlling rebounds and ensuring that their efforts are sustained for a full sixty minutes.

The only differences for the Coyotes involve a bit of a fib and a simple truth. First and foremost, the Coyotes still seem to have the, “Nobody believes in us but us” chip on their shoulder that they did last year, which the Red Wings have insisted is simply not the case since last season, and the second involves the fact that the Coyotes haven’t been able to score at even strength, as Coyotes coach Dave Tippett suggested to the Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio;

“Not as good as it needs to be,” coach Dave Tippett said. “The 5 on 5, it’s both - it’s with the puck and without the puck. To me, I think we’re giving up way too much on the defending side, and we’re not getting enough on the offensive side. They go hand in hand usually.”

Shane Doan, who scored two power-play goals in the Coyotes’ 4-3 loss in Game 2 on Saturday, said that aspect of the game needs improvement.

“We just have to be better,” he said. “We have to generate more off our forecheck, we have to generate more off the rush.”

The Coyotes believe that they’ve been guilty of getting “too cute” at points, as Keith Yandle suggested…

You just got to take an extra second to survey the ice, what’s going on, who’s open, whether to shoot or not,” he said. “But I think the main thing is we just got to get pucks to the net, and try to get some battles down in the low area. We’re all disappointed we didn’t find a way to win one of the games there, but I think we did a few good things, and obviously we addressed the things we have to do better and as a team we just go to do that (Monday).”

The Coyotes do believe, however, that their ability to rally from a 4-0 deficit on Saturday gave them the edge in terms of momentum coming into tonight’s game…

“We showed that we can play with them,” [Radim Vrbata] said. “You never want to quit in a game, even though we were down 4-0. You want to build a little momentum going into the third game. We did that; we came up a little short, but we showed that we can play with them.”

And they believe that their “whiteout” will give them an additional boost:

“It was the same last year toward the end of the regular season and in the playoffs; we had some sellouts and it was good atmosphere,” Vrbata said. “I’m sure it’s going to be great.”

PhoenixCoyotes.com’s Anthony Perez posted a series of quips from the Coyotes’ players about playing in front of their fans...

“It’s awesome. It’s one of the most enjoyable experiences as a player because the emotion is so high and the energy is so high. Hockey is an emotional game and when you get to add that much emotion from a crowd it brings out even better hockey.”
—Shane Doan

“Any time you’re at home and you have that energy, you’re going to feed off it. The crowd will be great; it’ll be rocking in here. For us, we’ll feed off that and hopefully it’ll give us a great start to the game and really help us build some momentum to keep throughout the rest of the game. We’re excited for the WhiteOut.”
—Lee Stempniak

“It’s an electric atmosphere. I was up there (in the press box) last season thinking ‘Man, I’d love to get a chance to play in this atmosphere.’ So, I’ll be looking forward to it. I’m sure our fans will be all amped up, and hopefully we can get our wins on home ice.”
—David Schlemko
“You want to play in front of your home crowd, especially when it is playoffs and it’s sold out. Our fans, when they’re all here, it’s loud. It’s fun to play in front of them, and especially with the WhiteOut, it makes for a tough atmosphere for the other team, and a fun atmosphere for us.”
—Keith Yandle

And both Schemko, Mikkel Boedeker and Kyle Turris told Perez that they’ve shaken off any pre-playoff jitters:

“The atmosphere keeps the intensity high, but every little play counts,” Boedker said. “And that’s what you see out there. It’s two teams going at it to get to the next round.”

Typically, young players need a few minutes of ice time to rid themselves of the “butterflies,” and Schlemko said he was no different.

“I was probably more nervous to just get on the ice,” said Schlemko, who averaged 16:01 of ice time in the first two games. “Sitting on the bench, I just wanted to get those first couple of shifts under my belt. Honestly, they’re a bit of a blur. I really don’t remember anything that happened in them, but it’s definitely exciting.”

Turris also enjoyed his first taste of the NHL playoff atmosphere.

“I found it a lot of fun,” said Turris, who averaged 12:05 of ice time in the first two games. “I didn’t find it overwhelming at all, and I think that’s the (most fun) part of hockey, just hearing how loud the crowd gets and how intense they are.”

The Coyotes also expect to get Ed Jovanovski back in the lineup after he suffered an “upper-body” injury in Game 2, as Tippett told the CBC’s series blogger:

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett sounded like a man who expected to see defenceman Ed Jovanovski in the lineup for Game 3. He should be fine, was what Tippett said about the status of Jovanovski, who left Game 2 with what was termed an upper-body injury.
“There’s two sides to Jovo,” Tippett said. “He’s a very vocal leader in our dressing room. One of our leaders from his veteran mentality. His game off the ice is very strong. On the ice, he can be a very robust guy. He plays with a great deal of energy and can really give our team a lift at times with brute force. It’s taken him a few games to get back up and going, but he’s certainly very valuable to our team.”

Derek Morris took part in the Coyotes’ Sunday practice as well, which may mean that he’ll return tonight:

“That’s a good sign”, Tippett said, listing Morris as a question mark for Game 3.

But they are concerned about shutting Pavel Datsyuk down, as they told NHL.com’s Jerry Brown:

“We really need some improvement on both sides of things even strength-wise,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “We chart a lot of chances … and it’s now as good as it needs to be. The power play came through in Game 2, but we have a lot of areas of our game that if we get them where we need to be, it will give us the best chance to win.We’ve given up way too much on the defensive side and we’re not getting enough on the offensive side.”

A lot of the “way too much” has come from Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, who has two goals and four assists in the first two games – playing a role in six of Detroit’s eight goals. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, who has missed the first two games with a knee injury, Datsyuk has dominated the series and confounded Phoenix’s defensemen with his between-the-leg shots and other creative moves.
“You don’t know what he’s going to do because he’s full of tricks,” said. “He’s the only one who knows what he’s going to do and it’s tough to play against him when he’s feeling this good.”

Tippett said Phoenix “has tried a couple of matchups that haven’t worked so well” against Datsyuk, and the search will continue in Game 3. One idea might be to match the Vernon Fiddler line – with wings Taylor Pyatt and Lee Stempniak – in an attempt to be more physical with him.

“You have to find a way to make sure not to give him any free opportunities,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. “He’s so good at creating opportunities you can’t give him any free ones.”

And while the Coyotes have received 14 power plays and taken only 8 penalties over the course of two games, they’ve also given up 3 power play goals, so they told Gintonio that they must smarten up and play a more disciplined (but very physical) game…

“We’re a pretty disciplined team,” defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. “I don’t think we’re a bunch of hell-raisers out there going out crazy and looking to take people’s heads off. We just have to play harder. We have to play a little faster and do things quicker, not necessarily charging guys or anything, but just getting the puck behind them quicker and using our speed. We did show what we could do when we put our minds to it. I do think when you’re kind of chasing a game like that, it’s tough to really go off of that because it’s a complete different scenario, but we do know we have to play with a little more urgency.”

While executing better on their own power play, which registered 3 goals on Saturday:

“In the first game, we adjusted to the way they were calling it, and we had the advantages on the power play, and we didn’t capitalize on them,” Shane Doan said. It’s different refs each time, and the refs last time they were consistent in the fact they were going to try to keep everything under control and not let it get too emotional, and we didn’t adjust as well as we should have.”

That being said, unlike Wings coach Mike Babcock, Tippett suggested that the referees have called too many “marginal” penalties:

“The penalties that I don’t like are the Rozsival (one) after the whistle blows, ones like that, we can’t have those, you’re just taking the percentage of winning away,” Tippett said. The ability to play hard and stay out of the penalty box, that’s what good players do, and there’s sometimes when you go over the edge a little bit. I look at the (Johan) Franzen non-call (against Shane Doan). To me, the guy, he toe-picks, he falls down, what would you rather Doaner do?

“There’s some (like) the (Rostislav) Klesla (cross-checking) penalty, he’s got (Tomas) Holmstrom down, he gives him the extra shot. To me, that’s debatable, but that’s where you go to find that fine line. That’s the competitiveness in the game, and if you’re not competitive right now, you’re not going to win, but you got to find that fine balance.”

Doan quite willingly poured a little fuel on the fire regarding his hit on Franzen, suggesting to NHL.com’s Jerry Brown that Franzen was not only at fault for incurring 23 stitches, but also may have earned a penalty had he succeeded in hitting Doan:

Doan went a step further, saying Franzen knew he was coming and tried to deliver a blow of his own before losing balance.

“He tried to hit me as much as I tried to hit him,” Doan said. “He tried turning his body up to me. I didn’t actually hit him that hard; it was just a matter that he went in awkwardly. I know he was looking at me and I think he was trying to bump and turn and take the puck back up the wall.”

I’ve chosen to not cover the drama surrounding the Coyotes’ future, so if you want to read articles discussing the Coyotes’ tenuous existence from the Arizona Republic’s Rebekah L. Saunders, Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan or the ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun’s comments on the issue, you’ll have to do so on your own, but I’ll point out that LeBrun found that the Coyotes seem to think that they have everything but a 2-0 series lead of their own, with Tippett suggesting that the Mantracker-beating Doan has given his teammates a blueprint for success, if you will:

“The identity we want is still the same,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said Sunday after practice. “I think it’s been harder, we haven’t done as good a job this year as last. Some of that is expectations have gone up, and people we are playing are treating us different than the year before. But our same mindset of how we have to play and what we have to do to be successful is a similar identity.”

Generally regarded as the hardest-working team in the NHL last season, the Coyotes need to rediscover that trait this week. Captain Shane Doan has been a man on a mission in this series, leading the club with four points (2-2) and hitting every Red Wing in sight. He’s providing quality shift after quality shift. But he needs help.

“A guy like Doaner is getting rewarded for all that work and a guy that goes out [and does] what he does,” Tippett said. “A few more guys should take notice of that and say, ‘Let’s jump on this bandwagon.’”

Brygalov needs to be sharper. A Vezina Trophy finalist last season and deservedly so, the UFA-to-be hasn’t been at his very best through two games. He’s allowed eight goals in two games, and while it’s true he’s going to get way more work than his counterpart Jimmy Howard, Bryzgalov has to win the goalie duel for the Coyotes to have any chance.
The Coyotes [f]ace a rough road. They must win four of five against the Wings to reach the second round.

“The confidence coming home is strong,” Tippett said. “We didn’t get the win we wanted up there, but we’re going to come home to a full building and lot of excitement. I expect us to play well.”

Doan agreed while speaking to the AP’s Bob Baum (and as I already posted his comments about Datsyuk in the off-day update), you can read ‘em there—and again, I’m ignoring Baum’s comments about the Coyotes’ future as this is a Red Wings blog, and it’s a blog maintained by someone who has no qualms with the Coyotes and their fans’ belief that their team has every right to exist as a stand-alone entity in Phoenix:

The Coyotes tried to take some comfort in the fact they almost came back from a 4-0 deficit with a big third period on Saturday. They also had a strong first period in Game 1. In between, it’s been all Detroit.

“It comes down to that desperation and controlling y our energy and making sure it’s kind of going in the right direction,” Doan said. “We’ve proven that we can do it. We just haven’t put the right combination together and they have. They’ve got a great team but realistically we win the next game at home on our ice and it’s a whole new series again.”

That’s the Coyotes’ team line—that they firmly believe it’ll be a new series after Monday night’s game, as the Arizona Republic’s Gintonio noted…

“I think we’re pretty confident as a group that, hey, we can compete, and we can play, and it’s just we need to do it for a full 60 minutes,” Doan said. “We haven’t put it together the way that we want to, and we need a bunch of guys to step up. We need guys in our locker room to step up and make plays and be hard to play against, the way that they got guys on their team that are doing a great job of finishing their checks and making everything difficult and being hard to play against.”
“Our guys are up for that challenge,” [Tippett] said. “We want that challenge. Our power play came through and got us back in the game. That’s the way a series goes, there’s always ebbs and flows like that. We’ve got a lot of areas of our game, if we get them where they need, it will give us the best chance to win. We didn’t get the win we wanted up there. We’re (home) to a full building, lots of excitement. I expect us to play well.”
“We’re still feeling pretty good about ourselves,” [Yandle] said. “We know, obviously, going down 2-0 is a tough feat to come back, but we get this one win, next game, it’s going to turn it around for us, and that’s what we need to do.”

The Coyotes had a 21-13-7 home record this season, and the Red Wings were 26-11-4 on the road.

“Realistically, we win the next game at home on our ice, it’s a whole new series again,” Doan said. “They definitely took care of their home ice, and that’s what you’re supposed to do in the playoffs. They did that, and we pushed them in the last game to where we had a chance to tie it up, but we didn’t, and now we got to find a way to get over that hump.

Almost all the off-day multimedia involves the Coyotes, and as I’m going to shift focus to the Wings in a minute, I’ll post it here:

PhoenixCoyotes.com’s Dave Vest spoke to Lee Stempniak in an audio clip, and on video, Fox Sports Arizona posted clips of Shane Doan, Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata, Coyotes.com’s Luke Lapinski spoke to several Coyotes about Monday’s game…

As well as an interview with Vrbata…


And Dave Tippett’s off-day presser:


There’s also a video of Vrbata talking to LeBrun in his report…


And from the Wings’ side of things, from WXYZ, Mike Stone spoke to Tom Leyden about the series thus far…


And this video from the Wings comes thanks to the fact that 500,000 fans “like” the Wings’ Facebook page:


NHL.com’s Eric Goodman’s game preview provides the fulcrum upon which we’ll turn from the Coyotes’ side of things to the Wings’ comments from Sunday:

Big story: The Red Wings have held the upper hand in both the offensive and physical aspects of the first two games of this series and now head to the desert with the opportunity to take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Coyotes. In the 20 straight seasons that the Wings have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they maintain a 19-4 record in respective series in which they won the first two games.
Coyotes [team scope]: No one could question the Coyotes’ valiant attempts at capping the comeback with two third-period goals by Doan on Saturday, but what put Phoenix behind the eight ball was five first-period penalties that led to two early power-play goals by Detroit. But despite the disappointing loss, Phoenix improved its numbers from Game 1 to Game 2, outshooting the Wings 33-31 on Saturday and putting up a respectable 3-for-7 showing on power-play chances.
Who’s hot: Not only has Datsyuk paced the Wings’ offense so far, but he leads all playoff scorers with two goals, three assists and a plus-four rating over two games. ... Leading the Coyotes’ offense are Doan (2 goals and 2 assists over two games) and right wing Radim Vrbata, who had a goal and an assist in Game 2 and also tallied a goal in Game 1.

Stat Pack: The Coyotes entered the NHL for the 1996-97 season and have yet to win a playoff series while in Phoenix. This means that the last time the Coyotes franchise won a Stanley Cup playoff series was back in the 1986-87 season when the club played in Winnipeg and were known as the Jets.

The Red Wings’ most significant news on Sunday involved the fact that Johan Franzen was held out of practice, but Henrik Zetterberg skated for almost an hour. Zetterberg still won’t play on Monday, as ESPN’s LeBrun noted—while also revealing some insightful comments from Zetterberg about Game 2…

  Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg skated Sunday, but will not play in Game 3 on Monday night, Detroit coach Mike Babcock told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun. Zetterberg has missed the first two games of the Wings’ opening-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes with a left knee injury. Detroit has won both games without its leading scorer, but travels to Phoenix for Game 3 having barely escaped Game 2.

“We played two good home games,” Zetterberg said Sunday. “The last one got really close.”

The Coyotes trailed 4-0 before scoring three unanswered. The Red Wings held on for a 4-3 win.

“They had a few power plays and a five-on-three and all of a sudden you’re right back in the game,” Zetterberg said. “It happens quickly in hockey and you’ve just got to respond and I think we did.”

As the Free Press’s Helene St. James points out, Zetterberg may have rebounded from Saturday’s setback, but he’s not ready to return by any medical means:

Zetterberg won’t play tonight in Game 3 against Phoenix and isn’t close to returning. His injury, a second-degree medial collateral ligament sprain, generally takes three weeks to heal. Zetterberg was hurt April 6. He began skating last week and has tried to add more work every day.

“Feels better than yesterday,” Zetterberg said Sunday. “I don’t know if I did that much stuff, I’m not really in the battling drills, so there’s not that much to do. But it’s fun to be out there. Step by step. I feel a little better, and as long as the progress keeps going that way, I’m happy.”

Zetterberg had a little scare Saturday when he first got on the ice and felt a twinge in his knee, but he returned to skate for 30 minutes.

“It was nothing, he just came off, but sometimes when you’ve had an injury and you tweak it, then you’re alarmed,” coach Mike Babcock said. “But he practiced with our guys today. That’s obviously a confidence builder, and we’ll go from there.”

Zetterberg offered this assessment of his progress to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

Zetterberg wouldn’t put a definite percentage on where he’s at physically.

“Probably 5 percent better than yesterday,” Zetterberg said.

And what did he feel like the day before?

“I would say between 40 and 70, maybe,” Zetterberg smiling. “As I said, I felt better than yesterday. As long as the progress is going that way, I’m happy.”

And as for Franzen?

“I mean, should I do what happened to him to you, and see if you’re here today?” Babcock said. “I think it’s fair (to give him a day off), don’t you?”

MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings don’t plan on making any changes to their lineup...

Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen didn’t practice Sunday, but general manager Ken Holland said he is expected to play Monday in Game 3 vs. Phoenix (10:30 p.m., FSD). Franzen needed stitches to close a gash on his forehead and cuts on his nose and upper lip after being checked into the boards by Shane Doan in Game 2.

Asked if there were any lineup changes, coach Mike Babcock said, “Not at this time.’‘

Mike Modano, a healthy scratch the first two games, filled in for Franzen on the line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom.

And the Red Wings mostly talked about their need to get in line discipline-wise, as DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose noted:

Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Anaheim are the only teams with more PIM per game than the Wings, who have gone from 9.2 PIM in the regular-season to 17.5 PIM in the first two games against the Coyotes. And those penalties took a toll in the third period of Saturday’s 4-3 win at Joe Louis Arena. All three Phoenix goals, including two third-period tallies by Shane Doan, were on the power-play.

“Obviously, you guys watched the game; we watched the game and we averaged about eight minutes in penalties throughout the year and suddenly we’re getting 17,” Babcock said. “Something different is about it. We’re a very disciplined team and we have to be a real disciplined team again tomorrow. We have to stay out of the penalty box and we have to be good on the penalty-kill.”

Wings center Kris Draper has seen this scenario before and believes that the Coyotes will use Game 2’s late charge as momentum heading into Monday’s game at Jobing.com Arena.

“We were able to hold onto the win and that’s the important thing,” Draper said. “We have to have another great start tomorrow night. … We know that Game 3 will be very important for both teams, so we want to make sure that we’re ready to go and we respond.”

The Wings managed to extinguish the Coyotes’ power-play in Game 1, but Draper said that they expected Phoenix to send more shots toward Jimmy Howard when they had the opportunity in Game 2. And Draper expects even more from the Coyotes, especially now since the series has shifted to the desert for the next two games.

“They send more shots in Game 2 and got rebounds in front of Howie,” Draper said. “But when Howard makes the first save on the penalty-kill it’s our job to mke sure that we mop up the garbage around him.”

Jimmy Howard agreed, at least regarding the Coyotes’ ability to find the back of the net by screening and crowding him, as he told MLive’s Khan:

In Game 1, Phoenix went 0-for-6 on the man-advantage, registering just three shots and posing little threat during a five-on-three that lasted for 1:30. In Game 2, Phoenix went 3-for-7, recording nine shots and scoring on a five-on-three.

“They were just hammering it from up top and they were getting traffic,” Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard said.
Phoenix forward Ray Whitney, whose team ranked 23rd on the power play this season (15.9 percent), said they were crisper and showed more urgency.

“We just shot pucks and got them to the net and they were rebound goals,” Whitney said. “That’s kind of how you score in this league now.”

The best way to kill penalties, as far as Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is concerned, is to stay out of the box. That’s not going to be easy in the playoffs, as referees have been instructed to crack down on sticking infractions that sometimes were overlooked during the season.

Only the Detroit Free Press’s Evil Drew Sharp suggested that the NHL’s referees are being consistently inconsistent:

“I guess we have to do a better job of not taking penalties,” said Kris Draper.

The Wings are smart in saying little to nothing regarding this telling disparity. Self-pity isn’t a flattering look for a team that has played in 20 consecutive playoffs. Nobody likes hearing the millionaire complaining about his misfortune. But the NHL fostered this environment of disbelief.

It doesn’t know what identity it wants. It changes every period, if not every shift.

Is the Stanley Cup still the ultimate test of a competitor’s willingness to battle through the neutral zone, in the corners and along the boards without fear of physical consequences? Or are the playoffs simply a two-month extension of the regular season, where the officiating gets tight to the point of ticky-tack? It must be one or the other. The NHL can’t keep juggling the two and expect the questioning regarding what constitutes a penalty to desist.

The Wings themselves chose to focus upon getting as ready for a Phoenix onslaught as possible, as the Free Press’s St. James noted, with the Wings respecting the Coyotes all the way:

“No doubt they’ll be coming,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said Sunday, “but we have to bring all the energy we have, and instead of them dictating things, hopefully we can win the first face-off and go after them. That way we get to the momentum going.”
“Our job is just to remain focused and play,” Kris Draper said. “The best way is to go out and try to score, take the crowd out of it. You’ve just got to stick with your game plan and remain very composed out there and just keep doing good things. We’ve been doing some good things, and we want to continue to do that.”
“They’re going to be flying, no doubt about it,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “They’re going to come out extremely hard. You know they’re going to be throwing their bodies around, getting on top of us, probably in the first 10 minutes. We’re going to have to match it.”

The Wings did admit, however, that they’re pleased with the job they’ve done in terms of getting shots through to Ilya Bryzgalov while keeping Bryzgalov’s field of view cluttered with Red Wings bodies in the forms of Tomas Holmstrom, Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi (the London Free Press’s Morris Dalla Costa believes that Tomas Holmstrom may be the player who wins the series, and as St. James notes, screening Bryzgalov is particularly difficult given that he’s 6’3”)

They’ve gotten 67 shots through to his net and scored eight goals, leaving him with an .881 save percentage and 4.10 goals-against average, among the worst numbers of the 18 goalies who have played in the playoffs.

“Goalies today, they’re all so good, you’ve got to just keep shooting at them,” Kronwall said after Sunday’s practice at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We just have to keep getting traffic around him and keep getting rebounds at him.”

The Wings did admit, however, that they’re hoping that their red-wearing fans will give them a little bit of a boost tonight, as they told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

“You hear them,” said forward Tomas Holmstrom, of the thousands of fans clad in Wings jerseys at road arenas. “It’s always nice, for sure. Usually if you score a goal and the crowd gets into it, it makes it tougher (for the home team).”
“There’s no question, the last time we were in here it was great,” said coach Mike Babcock, noting the large fan base in Phoenix. “The best (road) crowd this year may have been in Tampa Bay. That was unbelievable. The Canadian dollar is good and a lot of people are enjoying the sunshine (in Arizona, and wanting to watch hockey).”

Said Jimmy Howard: “It’s fun, you get the Wings fans mixed in with the Coyotes fans and it makes for a great atmosphere. In the games we’ve played here, the place gets real loud and I expect more of the same.”
“We’ve been lucky, we’ve been through (big road games),” Kris Draper said. “We’ve played in great buildings. Our job is to remain focused and just play. It would be great to score early and take the crowd out of it. Otherwise, you stick to the game plan and remain composed.”

The Wings’ bottom line, however, remains insisting that they’ve got a tough road ahead of them tonight and on Wednesday, playing at Jobing.com arena included, as Jimmy Howard told USA Today’s Kevin Allen...

The Red Wings have played better on the road this season than at home. But they say they aren’t overconfident being up 2-0.

“It’s an advantage,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. “But this series is far from over. They’re going to come at us Monday, and we’re going to have to weather the storm the first 10 minutes.”

Draper agreed while speaking to NHL.com’s Jerry Brown:

“We got off to a good start, but we know we’ve got a long way to go here,” Detroit center Kris Draper said. “They’re probably going to build off the third period they had with a big momentum swing. We know they’re going to come. We’ve done some good things so far in Games 1 and 2, but we know Game 3 is a very important game for both teams. We want to make sure we’re ready to go and respond.’‘

Tomas Holmstrom doesn’t plan on resting on his ample laurels, either, because the Wings aren’t doubting Ilya Bryzgalov’s ability to bunce back:

The Red Wings have done a good job of getting traffic in front of Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov – something they’ve done in the past with great success. Tomas Holmstrom was in Bryzgalov’s face for both Detroit power-play goals in Game 2, and then deflected a goal past him to give the Wings a 4-0 lead.

“Seems like it was one of those days. He had a hard time seeing the puck,” Holmstrom said. “Guys from the point made some good shots through there. We got to him yesterday but for sure he’s going to bounce back. He played great in the third for them and gave them a chance to get back in the game. We got to get more pucks to the net and more screens on him.”

Per the NHL’s media website, Kevin Pollock and Chris Lee will referee tonight’s game, and Shane Heyer and Johnny Murray will work the lines.

Red Wings and Coyotes notebooks:

If you aren’t following RedWingsFeed on Twitter, maintained by one of the 19 in Mike Serven, you missed out on the following practice updates made before the Wings’ beat writers filed reports…

Zetterberg is participating in drills. Osgood is still slow when rising up from the butterfly #redwings
Modano is doing drills with the black aces. Draw your own conclusion. #redwings
Zetterberg still practicing and is now solo skating, giving his knee a pretty solid test #redwings
Zetterberg not wearing his knee brace after practice. Draw your own conclusion #redwings

And after he posted pictures of the Wings signing autographs on Twitpic, he posted a full photo gallery on Picasa.

As I suggested in the off-day notebook, it’s…a bit disappointing that Wings fans who aren’t season ticket-holders have a better chance of access to practices and the team in every NHL city that’s not Detroit than they do in the Motor City;

• The Red Wings’ website and Detroit News posted photo galleries from Sunday’s practice as well;

• For the record, the Wings are holding a playoff viewing party at the Hamiln Pub in Chesterfield, MI tonight and will hold a viewing party at the MotorCity Casino on Wednesday;

• Wings forward Mike Modano may not be playing right now, but the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that he was in good spirits on Sunday, goofing around during practice:

here was a sequence at the end of the Red Wings’ practice in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Sunday in which Mike Modano was thwarted on back-to-back-to-back attempts by Jimmy Howard. Turns out, Modano played to Howard’s ego.

“You’ve got to keep their confidence up, you know, the goalies,” Modano said, grinning, while Henrik Zetterberg sat next to him, laughing. “You’ve got to make them feel good for tomorrow. They’re sensitive guys.”

Chris Osgood, though, was happy to let Modano score on him. “He looks so fabulous coming down the ice, I just let him do what he wants,” Osgood said.

• If you’re interested, the Free Press’s George Sipple profiled former Wing Ray Whitney, who I once terrified during the lockout by showing up in a Wings jersey and hat while he and I prepared to fly a puddle jumper from Windsor to Toronto. I was very respectful and left him alone save a handshake and talk of supporting the players during the lockout, but his eyes were as big as saucers when he saw me coming toward him, and I still remember watching his little legs skitter along as he tried to run through Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto to catch a connecting flight home to Edmonton. I only had to walk quickly, thankfully to catch a flight to Winnipeg (this was back in the days when the Canadian exchange rate made it cheaper to fly out of Windsor and east to Toronto than it was to go from Detroit to Minneapolis and then up to the Peg);

• : The Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema reports that the Wings’ remaining Black Aces include the following players:

Remaining with Detroit as they practice and work out with the Red Wings are: goaltender Jordan Peace, forwards Cory Emmerton, Jan Mursak and Tomas Tatar and defensemen Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff, Derek Meech and Brendan Smith.

Those players traveled with the Red Wings to Phoenix and will be available to play should an emergency situation arise.

The Wings did so in no small part due to Red Bird II’s size, but I think it’s worth pointing out that, with perhaps the exception of Meech and Janik, who will probably find work elsewhere over the summer, the players who remained with the team are either slated to join the big club (Emmerton and Mursak) or are first in call-up pecking order for the 2011-2012 season. Lashoff was injured for a significant period of time last season, but the Wings are very high on his potential to develop into a Brad Stuart-style defenseman.

In the interim, Joakim Andersson and Ilari Filppula will probably play for Sweden and Finland, respectively, in the World Championships, and Thomas McCollum needs a little time away from hockey to refocus and regain his previous form next season.

• It’s official: there are no more Red Wings prospects taking part in playoff hockey. Louis-Marc Aubry registered an assist but Trevor Parkes were held off the scoresheet as the Montreal Juniors were defeated by the Lewiston MAINEacs by a 6-3 tally, eliminating Montreal from the QMJHL playoffs in a series they lost 4-2.

Parkes registered 6 goals and 9 points over the course of 10 playoff games, and Aubry registered 5 goals and 6 points over the same span. I believe that Parkes is still eligible to play in the Q as an overager, and Aubry doesn’t turn 20 till November, so he’s good to go.

• In the WHL, Mitchell Callahan and the Kelowna Rockets were defeated by the Portland Winterhawks, losing 4-2 and dropping their series by the same margin. Callahan received a double-minor for roughing in the second period and closed it by fighting Portland’s Taylor Jordan.

Callahan finished the playoffs with 5 goals, 4 assists and 9 points over the course of 10 games, as well as 17 penalty minutes. The Wings’ plan for him right now is to have him turn pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins next season.

• As RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau notes on her Left Wing Lock blog, one Red Wings alumnus and two prospects who didn’t pan out won a championship on Sunday:

When Igor Grigorenko was laying in a Russian hospital in 2003 after a horrific car accident, many didn’t think he would survive let alone play hockey again. The 5-foot-10, 203 pound forward had suffered multiple fractures in his left leg as well as a nearly fatal fat embolism which broke off and entered his lungs while he was recuperating. The injuries would be too sever and he would never be the same player again.

The Red Wings, who had drafted the Russian forward 62nd overall in 2001, had been thrilled with his development leading up to the accident and believed they had a sure fire NHL player.  After years of recovery, the Detroit brass brought the then 24 year-old over to North America in 2007 hoping that he could make the Red Wings roster. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep up with the quicker NHL forwards and was demoted to Grand Rapids. After just five games in the AHL, he was on a plane back to Russia.

Three years later, Grigorenko has had his best season to date netting 24 goals and 40 points while playing on the top line for Ufa Salavat of the KHL. On Saturday, he along with former Wing Slava Kozlov and former prospect Miroslav Blatak, helped Ufa capture the Gargarin Cup which is awarded to the KHL champion. Grigorenko had a strong post season netting 9 goals and 15 assists in 21 games. While he will likely never play North American hockey, his survival is the real measure of his success.

• I took a peek at the Russian press this morning. Pavel Datsyuk thankfully didn’t say anything in Russian to Sovetsky Sport’s Dmitri Malinovsky that he didn’t in English, save the headline—that when he tried to shoot between his legs on Ilya Bryzgalov on Saturday, he did so instinctively;

• And Sport-Express’s Mikhail Zislis reports that while Sergei Fedorov hasn’t decided whether he’ll continue playing (and Sergei Zubov’s retiring, FTR), CSKA Moscow has expressed interest in offering Fedorov a contract. Fedorov, who played for Metallurg Magnitogorsk this past season, began his pro hockey career with CSKA back in 1986, so it would be somewhat fitting that the 41-year-old finish his career with CSKA.

His father, Viktor, told Sport-Express’s Igor Larin that Sergei would decide whether to continue his career this summer.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


MsRedWinger's avatar

And they believe that their “whiteout” will give them an additional boost:

NOT!  I think they’ll be seeing red, in more ways than one!

Wings need to play their game - don’t worry about the zebras.  Just get the legs going, get lots of guys going hard to the net and pouncing on rebounds.  That’s how we got to Bryz in the first two games.  And yes, help Jimmah out on the other end.  But the penalties are going to be called no matter what Detroit does - like the Helm penalty on Saturday.  So just go out and play!  Play hard.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 04/18/11 at 10:05 AM ET

SYF's avatar

“We’re a pretty disciplined team,” defenseman Adrian Aucoin said.

Full of shit.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 04/18/11 at 04:15 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

the games tone will be set once we know if the phoenix owner is in the building tonight unfortunately. Lets get that early goal or two and take the crowd out of it!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 04/18/11 at 05:51 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.


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