Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Predators wrap-up: the egg and you

Here’s the recipe: Red Wings go into Nashville. The Predators, who insist before and after the game that they “respect” the hell out of the Red Wings, attempt to injure them in every way, shape and form as they try to check the Wings’ players into next month. The Wings get a bad call or two against them, the Predators get a few weird bounces—earned, mind you, by hard work and a relentless forecheck—which go into the back of the Wings’ net, the Wings struggle on a crucial special teams opportunity or two and Pekka Rinne stands on his head. Add water, stir and bake at 375 degrees in front of a packed whatever-the-heck they’re calling the Predators’ rink this week and give Nashville two points.

Sound familiar? The Red Wings tried to break through against the Nashville Predators minus the services of Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler, and while every one of the Wings’ 11 forwards, 6 defensemen and their goaltender (Jimmy Howard stopped 36 shots in a spectacular performance) worked their tails off, they came up empty on a rare power play drawn with only 3:53 left in the game and came up short against the Predators, dropping a 3-1 decision to Nashville, which has both won 4 of its 5 games against the Wings and has a game remaining against Detroit in Nashville, where the team’s been all but invincible against Detroit.

I understand that I’m showing my partisan red and white-wearing colors a little more than usual this morning, but I can’t really help it today. The Predators didn’t beat the Red Wings as much as they beat Detroit up, and Stephen Walkom and Francois St. Laurent seemed all too happy to let Shea Weber, Martin Erat of all people, Shane O’Brien, Sergei Kostitsyn (his elbow on Justin Abdelkader was of the aiming-for-the-head variety) Patric Hornqvist and the rest of the Predators run ramp-shod on Bridgestone Arena’s ice, very blatantly and very obviously attempting to injure Darren Helm, Nicklas Lidstrom and a score of Wings via the kinds of plays which will hopefully be called charging and roughing under next year’s rules. It was downright silly to watch at times and painful to witness, though, as Paul posted, this play was most certainly the second-most-painful...

Somehow, Patrick Eaves simply caught a “stinger” when he took a shot off the left foot, and he was able to return.

The most painful play, I can’t find a specific highlight clip to illustrate, but we all saw it. Stephen Walkom waved off a Niklas Kronwall goal (he should have earned a goal as well as a Patrick Eaves-pushing assist) in the first period because Pekka Rinne charged to the top of his crease, actually checking Tomas Holmstrom, and when Holmstrom slowly backed toward the crease, mirroring Rinne’s movements, as Kronwall blasted a shot through Holmstrom and Rinne (who’s 6’5,” and can see around Holmstrom), Walkom chose to rule that Holmstrom was, according to Mike Babcock, completely in the crease, and prevented Rinne from doing his job.

For some reason, the NHL will review goals involving goaltenders pushed into the net, the net coming off its pegs and/or its “plane” if someone lifts it, possible high sticks, kicked-in goals, pucks directed in by hands and pucks which may or may not have completely crossed the goal line, but for some reason, it apparently can’t rule as to whether goaltenders were interfered with because it would “make games too long” and referees are always right, even if it’s the goaltender doing the checking.

That wasn’t the reason the Wings lost, don’t get me wrong—when they were down 2-1 in the 3rd and got that late power play, the Predators practically out-shot and out-chanced Detroit, and the Wings never seemed to recover, eventually coughing up the puck that was placed into their empty net as if it would let them off the hook after working tremendously hard for 56 minutes and change. Otherwise, Cleary scored the first goal and proved that Rinne was beatable, but the Wings both managed to give up 18 second period shots, earn some utterly bizarre goals against via blown coverage (Geoffrion) and a plain old weird bounce (Blum), and fire 40 shots on Pekka Rinne and 38 near him.

The Wings withstood the Predators’ literal beatings with reserve and aplomb, backing them off somewhat via their power-play goal and refusing to take O’Brien and others’ multiple requests to make a shorthanded team even more so by indulging in fights, but in the end, the lack of offensive punch in Datsyuk, Franzen and Hudler’s absences was very apparent as the Wings’ simply couldn’t sustain the kind of relentless attack that they do when Datsyuk’s grinding the puck out down low via hard work as much as dazzling displays of skill, and while Franzen’s become more of an assist man of late, he’s been fantastic in terms of setting his teammates up for prime scoring opportunities. Once the Wings surrendered their lead, there was a sense of inevitability to the game’s result, and the Wings worked very hard but couldn’t get the puck past Rinne when they needed to most.

That’s my take on the game, but the game’s principals weighed in, too, and their opinions matter much more than mine do. 

As the Predators’ win vaulted them back into 8th place in the Western Conference, they were delighted with their playoff-intense effort and win, as captain Shea Weber told the Tennessean’s Bryan Mullen:

“It’s obviously a huge win for us,” Predators captain Shea Weber said. “It’s a big rival game against Detroit. But we have to move past this. We have a big game against Buffalo, who is fighting for their playoff lives as well.”
...
Brentwood native Blake Geoffrion got his first goal at home, scoring in the second period to tie it. And defenseman Jonathon Blum fired in a rebound for the deciding goal in the third period. Patric Hornqvist assisted on both.

“Especially under the circumstances, it was a pretty nice way to get a first goal” at home, Geoffrion said.

Nashville is 4-1-0 against Detroit this season, winning four consecutive games against the Red Wings for the second time in team history.

Said Predators Coach Barry Trotz: “Everybody is digging in and finding ways.”

Geoffrion’s goal was, shall we say, a bit odd, as he told Mullen...

Teammate Patric Hornqvist assisted on the goal, and the Predators benefited when Geoffrion took a page out of Hornqvist’s playbook and headed to the front of the net.

“(Hornqvist) passed the puck to the net and I just got a stick on it,” Geoffrion said. “It deflected off my stick, then hit my leg. It hit the goalie (Jimmy Howard) and then he put it in. I’ll take them how I can get them.”

And Rinne’s numerous saves seemed to overshadow the Predators’ defense’s ability to stifle the Wings’ attempts to generate secondary and tertiary scoring chances, as well as their forechecking and cycling games:

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne once again built a wall and was nearly unbeatable. He stopped 39 of 40 shots and was particularly impressive late in the third period when Detroit began to attack.

“They have such a dangerous power play,” Rinne said. “At the end there, pucks were bouncing everywhere.”
...
“He made some great saves,” Trotz said. “And Howard made some good saves, too. But I like my guy.”

Rinne also happened to address the Wings’ waved-off goal while speaking to the Nashville City Paper’s David Boclair:

Detroit had a goal negated that would have made it 1-0 with 1:38 to play in the first period when Tomas Holmstrom – a regular Nashville nemesis – was called for goaltender interference as he screened Pekka Rinne.

“He was right on top of me but it must be a tough call,” Rinne said. “… He’s one of the better guys at doing that – screening the goalies and being in their face all night long.”

Mostly, the Predators felt that they won what might have been a prelude to a first-round match-up, sweeping the season series against Detroit with one more game remaining in the Wings’ house of horrors (on April 2nd):

“I think that first period – honestly – was like, ‘Wow, this is it; this is the most intense game I’ve ever been in,” Blum said. “They were coming hard at us. It was physical. It was nasty. The crowd was into it. Everything was so good about it. I think I just enjoyed it and took it all in.”

Blum got the game-winner – his second goal in three games and third overall – with 11:48 to play after Geoffrion had tied it midway through the second period. He scored 68 seconds into his team’s second – and last – power play of the contest. The Predators were outshot 18-9 in the second period but answered with 20 pucks on net in the third. The final shot tally was 40-39 in favor of Nashville. The outcome finally was sealed with David Legwand scored an empty-net goal with 29 seconds left.
...
“Everybody’s digging in, we’re finding ways and everybody’s contributing,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We’ve asked people to step up and play a little out of their element, give what they have and play to their potential a little more. We’re hanging in there. So it does help us a lot.”

Of note from the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper as we pause for a moment…

* The Predators have shown quite a bit of resolve recently. In their last game – a victory over Boston – the Predators battled back from two one-goal deficits. In this game, Nashville gave up the first goal – again – and found a way to win in regulation. The Predators actually have a not-so-terrible record when being scored upon first, a .351 winning percentage to be exact — good for 14th in the NHL. The last two games have lent to this.

* Not to take away too much from Nashville’s win, but the Predators have really caught Detroit at a lot of vulnerable points this season. Tonight was the second game the Red Wings didn’t have forward Pavel Datsyuk against Nashville. The Red Wings also were without forward Johan Franzen, which meant they had 17 skaters instead of the customary four lines and three defense pairs. You sort of knew the Red Wings would run out of gas in the third period, and that’s exactly what happened.
...
* Right now, it seems like it’s a race to 96 points to get into the playoffs. With 10 games left, the Predators need a total of 12 points. Their schedule includes Colorado (road), Edmonton (home), Columbus (home), Atlanta (home) and St. Louis (road). Nashville can also steal some points at home from Anaheim and Dallas next week. The 96-point total appears doable – at least at the moment.

I do agree with Cooper regarding the Wings looking gassed—or at least unable to generate offense when leaning heavily upon Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller and a Mike Modano who seems to be incredibly frustrated with his inability to score these days—as it was the Wings’ third game over the course of four nights, but they barely generated any offense during their power play and the waning moments of the game. The vast majority of their 20 third-period shots came over the first 15 minutes of the period. It was as if, once the Wings got on that late power play, they really didn’t know what to do with themselves after about 30 minutes of Predator impunity.

And while Jimmy Howard did give up two very fluky goals, I can’t emphasize enough how sharp he was, almost matching Joey MacDonald’s performance against the Blue Jackets by fluidly moving around the crease, aggressively challenging shooters, deftly controlling his rebounds and bailing out his defensemen when the Predators’ ability to cycle the puck down low in the Wings’ zone got the Wings’ defensemen running around, chasing after the puck carrier and opening up lanes for Nashville Players to charge the front of the net.

As the Associated Press’s Teresa M. Walker’s recap notes, the Predators did eventually break through…

Sergei Kostitsyn was then penalized for elbowing Valtteri Filppula, who was crushed into him by Weber from the backside. Henrik Zetterberg carried the puck along the back boards and passed it to Cleary who tapped in his 23rd goal.

The Predators went on the offensive in the second period, outshooting Detroit 18-9. Geoffrion, the first fourth-generation NHL player, tied it 1-1 at 8:42 when he tipped in his third this season from in front off an assist from Patric Hornqvist. Rinne also got lucky when Mike Modano hit the crossbar on a 2-on-1 break with 1:18 left in the period.
...
It stayed tied until Zetterberg tripped Shane O’Brien as he went to the net, giving the Predators a man advantage at 7:04 of the third. Blum scored his third off the rebound of Hornqvist’s shot for a rare power-play goal for Nashville, ranked 27th in the NHL.
...
Rinne also helped kill a power play at 16:07. Detroit took a timeout with 37.1 seconds left, before Legwand sealed the victory with 28.4 seconds left.

The Wings did their best to shoulder the blame for not breaking through Rinne and the Predators’ defense…

“We had some glorious chances, just like they did,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “Modano hit the crossbar on a great 2-on-1, we had a real good power play right at the end of the game where we had a great opportunity, and Rinne made the save. So give them credit.”

As Nicklas Lidstrom also suggested to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

“They got the winning goal on their power play and we had our chance late on the power play,” Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We couldn’t capitalize on it. It was a very close , very tight game.”
...
“But we battled hard,” Lidstrom said, despite being shorthanded in terms of personnel. “We did have a shorter lineup than we usually have, but we had our chances. It was a close, tight game.”
...
“We did a lot of good things. We had a lot of opportunities and they did too,” coach Mike Babcock said. “There were opportunities both ways. We just have to keep working, that’s all.”

The Wings also admitted that while they were generally on the receiving end of “playoff intensity” on the Predators’ part, they didn’t necessarily mind the bump and grind game, either:

“It had playoff intensity,” forward Patrick Eaves said. “Good atmosphere. It was a hard, fun game to play in.”

Said goalie Jimmy Howard: “It was a great game, a lot of fun out there. The crowd was into it—that was a playoff game. It was wall refereed, they just let us battle. It was fun. It just came down to special teams and they got one late on us.”

The Wings basically felt that they could have won the game had “the bounces” gone their way, as the Detroit Free Press’s Greg Sullivan noted:

Nashville’s Jonathon Blum scored the go-ahead goal on goalie Jimmy Howard midway through the third and David Legwand tapped in a close-range shot in the final minute to provide the final margin.

“It was a great bounce for them,” Howard said of Blum’s go-ahead goal. “My defenseman made a great play on the puck; it just happened to land on Blum’s stick.”

Nashville has now won four straight over the Wings for the second time in their franchise’s history. (The last time was a streak that spanned two seasons in 2009.) With Saturday’s win, the Predators also clinched their second season series over the Wings.

“Both teams had opportunities; they just ended up with one more great bounce than us,” Howard said. “It’s always very competitive when we play against the other.”

Babcock pointed out that the Predators’ regular-season dominance over the Wings won’t necessarily translate to any playoff match-up…

“I’m not going to spend a whole bunch of time worrying about that,” Babcock said. “I think the big thing here is sometimes in the regular season you play against a team that for some reason has that other team’s number and then not have that success come playoff time.”

And he something similar to Sullivan before the game as well:

Babcock discussed the strength of the conference’s middle-tier teams Saturday.

“The disparity in talent now is very minimal in the league,” Babcock said. “The whole league’s very tight. Any round of the playoffs I think all these teams in the West will be capable of winning.”

For the record, Patrick Eaves provided an update as to his status while speaking to the Detroit News’s Kulfan...

“It’s bruised,” said Eaves of his foot, although he returned to play the entire game. “I didn’t feel good (at first). He (Weber) can really hum the puck. I think he got all of that one.”

As for the call against Holmstrom…

The Wings felt they had a 1-0 lead when Niklas Kronwall scored on the power play at 18:22 of the first period. But the goal was waved off because of an interference call on Tomas Holmstrom against Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. Danny Cleary scored on a power play a minute later, but the Wings obviously could have used the Kronwall goal in a 3-1 loss. Not that the Wings felt the call was correct.

“Looking at the big screen (in the arena) it didn’t look like it,” said Nicklas Lidstrom, adding Holmstrom was outside of the paint.

Said Babcock: “Obviously I didn’t like that call. I didn’t agree with it, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

And, overall, the Wings walked the fine line between giving Nashville credit for a spirited performance and suggesting that they could have very won the game, as Kulfan…

“They’ve been pretty well matched, except for the one game at home,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “It’s just like any team; teams always try to measure themselves to us. It’s like how we were excited to play Washington. They were really excited to play us. They’re battling for a playoff position and they played hard.”

And MLive’s Ansar Khan noted:

“I thought it was a great game,’’ Howard said. “It was a lot of fun out there, the crowd was into it. That was a playoff game. Well-reffed, they just let us battle out there. It just came down to special teams and they got one late on us. We had our chances, too.’’
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“We battled hard throughout the whole game,’’ Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “They got the winning goal on their power play and we had our chance late on the power play. We had some great chances at the side of the net but couldn’t score. I thought that was the difference in the game.’’

The 6-foot-5 Rinne has allowed only two goals in his last three games vs. Detroit.

“He made a couple of good (saves) late, we hit a couple of posts,’’ Mike Modano said. “It’s not like we didn’t have the looks we wanted. He’s a big guy, covers a lot of the net, you really have to get him out of that net to have any opportunities on those second and third chances.’’

That may be the Wings’ biggest issue in terms of solving Rinne going forward. He’s an absolutely gigantic goaltender who can peek around even Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen, so while going to the net and screening the goaltender tends to work in terms of getting pucks by most goaltenders, getting cycling plays going down low and behind the net so that the Wings can attempt to make back-door passes laterally and/or come off the half boards and dish a side-to-side pass to a lurking forward and/or pinching defenseman would force Rinne to move from side to side, and as he illustrated on the Holmstrom waved-off goal, he can get lost moving too aggressively around the crease. He might very well slide out of the way if the Wings can get him making enough side-to-side pushes across the crease.

Just as importantly, the Wings did win 57% of their faceoffs, which is pretty rare for the team on the road, but they surrendered too many offensive zone faceoffs and ended up chasing the puck back down the ice before re-setting their offensive sights.

In any case, Saturday’s game’s over, and after the Wings hopped back onto Red Bird II for a midnight flight home, they probably planted themselves in bed to recover from the 3-games-in-4-nights stretch.

The Wings will kick off a 5-game home stand against the Penguins on Monday, and while you and me may harbor significant ill will against the Crosby-less Penguins, the Wings have 10 games left and are only 2 points up on the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference standings, so the identity of the Wings’ opponent really doesn’t matter very much going forward. The Wings have to get healthy—and it’s presumed that at least Johan Franzen and Ruslan Salei will make their returns to the lineup on Monday—and they have to keep on winning on a very regular basis while getting their goal-scorers going (see: Franzen, Bertuzzi), their secondary scorers off any scoring schneids (see: Kronwall, Modano, Hudler) and simply continuing to round into playoff-ready form.

The fact that the Wings are facing off against the Penguins (the game will air at 7:30 PM EDT on Versus, and the Wings will catch a break as the Penguins face off against the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon) might help perk up their energy level a bit, but it doesn’t matter whether the Wings are playing one of their three remaining games against the Hawks, their tilts against the Blues, Predators and Wild, or their inter-conference games against Pittsburgh, Toronto and Carolina. Winning is the bottom line, plain and simple.

Multimedia:

Highlights: Fox Sports Detroit posted a one-minute highlight clip;

The Red Wings’ website posted a highlight clip narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond:


Post-game: The Predators’ website posted clips of Pekka Rinne…

 

Nick Spaling…

 

And Blake Geoffrion speaking to the media…

 

As well as Barry Trotz’s post-game presser:

 

Fox Sports Tennessee posted Pete Weber and Terry Crisp’s recap;

And Fox Sports Detroit posted Mike Babcock’s interview with Trevor Thompson and interviews with Jimmy Howard and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Photos: The Detroit Free Press posted a 9-image gallery;

The Tennessean posted an 11-image gallery;

Yahoo Sports posted a 24-image gallery;

NHL.com posted a 39-image gallery;

The Predators’ website posted a 34-image gallery and embedded an image in its website’s recap;

And the Red Wings’ website posted a 33-image gallery and embedded an image in its website’s recap.

Statistics: 40-39 Detroit overall, breaking down as 11-10 Detroit in the 1st period, 18-9 Nashville in the 2nd period and 20-11 Detroit in the 3rd period.

The Wings went 1-for-3 in 4:08 of PP time; the Predators went 1-for-2 in 3:08 of PP time.

Howard stopped 36 of 38 shots against; Rinne stopped 39 of 40. The Predators scored their third goal into an empty net.

Our goal: Cleary (23) from Zetterberg (52) and Bertuzzi (25), PP.

Faceoffs 39-30 Detroit (57% won by the Wings);

Blocked shots 16-9 Nashville;

Missed shots 22-9 Detroit (total attempted shots 78-57 Detroit);

Hits 23-16 Nashville;

Giveaways 15-5 Nashville;

Takeaways 12-3 Nashville.

The 3 stars, per the “Nashville Media,” were Pekka Rinne, Blake Geoffrion and Jonathan Blum.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Filppula went 11-and-8 (58%); Helm went 10-and-8 (56%); Zetterberg went 7-and-9 (44%); Abdelkader went 4-and-3 (57%); Cleary went 3-and-1 (75%); Draper went 4-and-1 (80%).

Shots: Zetterberg took 6 shots; Helm took 5; Kindl and Cleary took 4; Lidstrom, Abdelkader and Filppula took 3; Miller, Draper and Modano took 2; Bertuzzi, Kronwall and Holmstrom had 1.

Blocked attempts: Filppula had 3 shot attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Rafalski, Helm and Kronwall had 2 shot attempts blocked; Lidstrom, Cleary, Eaves, Miller and Ericsson had single shot attempts blocked.

Missed shots: Eaves, Helm and Ericsson missed the net 3 times; Abdelkader and Modano missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Lidstrom, Cleary, Miller, Rafalski, Bertuzzi, Filppula, Kronwall and Holmstrom missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Helm had 3 hits; Eaves and Holmstrom had 2; Abdelkader, Cleary, Miller, Stuart, Draper, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Filppula and Kronwall had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Bertuzzi had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Cleary and Ericsson had 1;

Takeaways: Zetterberg, Helm and Modano were credited with takeaways.

Blocked opponent shots: Stuart blocked 2 shots; Kindl, Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Eaves, Filppula, Ericsson and Kronwall blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Cleary and Zetterberg took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: Rafalski finished at -2; Lidstrom, Cleary, Eaves, Stuart, Draper, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi and Modano finished at -1.

Points: Cleary had a goal and Zetterberg and Bertuzzi had assists.

Ice time: Lidstrom led the team with 22:52 played; Rafalski played 21:23; Stuart played 20:42;

Cleary played 20:18; Kronwall played 20:06; Filppula played 19:23;

Zetterberg played 18:30; Ericsson played 18:10; Bertuzzi played 17:59;

Kindl played 16:36; Helm played 16:00; Holmstrom played 15:31;

Modano played 15:26; Draper played 15:15; Abdelkader played 13:48;

Eaves played 13:41; Miller played 11:40.


Also of Red Wings-related note: In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins pushed themselves back a tie for the North Division’s last playoff spot via a 3-1 victory over the Rochester Americans. Jordan Pearce stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced and Tomas Tatar had two goals in the Griffins’ win.

The Grand Rapids Griffins’ website (which also offers a Flickr photo gallery and YouTube-formatted post-game interviews), Amerks’ website and the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema provide recaps, with Zuidema discussing the Griffins’ ability to bounce back after a 7-2 defeat on Friday:

With the win, Grand Rapids moved into a tie for fourth place in the North Division with Toronto, which lost 3-1 to Adirondack. The Griffins also stand just four points behind first-place Manitoba with 10 games left in the regular season.

“That’s a terrific job by a team that had a good old-fashioned tail-kicking last night,” Grand Rapids coach Curt Fraser said. “That’s a real accomplishment by our guys. They pulled together and found a way.”

Perhaps no one was more vindicated than goaltender Jordan Pearce, who gave up seven goals on 27 shots Friday. Against Rochester, he made 25 saves and was especially strong in the second and third periods when the Americans attempted to come back from a 2-0 first-period deficit.

“The last 40 minutes was all Jordan Pearce,” Fraser said. “Way back in the first year I was here, when Jimmy Howard was here, we had performances like that. But in the last year and a half, we haven’t had that. Now we’ve got that. We need a goaltender to steal us games like this, when the team’s tired, beat up. He did a fantastic job for us.”

• In Toledo, Thomas McCollum stopped 23 of 28 shots as the Toledo Walleye dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Trenton Titans. The Walleye’s website and Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe offer recaps, and both note that McCollum has an 8-8-1-and-1 record with the Walleye;

• At Joe Louis Arena, Wings prospect Riley Sheahan scored a goal as Notre Dame lost the CCHA’s championship consolation game 4-2 to the University of Michigan. USCHO.com’s recap posted a 17-second YouTube interview with Sheahan which isn’t exactly scintillating viewing.

The University of Miami of Ohio won the CCHA championship via a 5-2 victory over Western Michigan University;

• Also in the prospect department, the Everett Herald’s Nick Patterson reports that Everett Silvertips captain and Red Wings prospect Landon Ferraro should be able to return from his groin injury when they begin their first-round playoff series against the Portland Pirates;

• In Finland, Teemu Pulkkinen didn’t play in Jokerit’s 4-2 win over HIFK, which evened the teams’ first round SM-Liiga playoff series at 1-1;

• In the local hockey news department, Plymouthwhalers.com’s Peter Krupsky reports that the Whalers will play against the Kitchener Rangers in the first round of the OHL playoffs, with their schedule breaking down as follows:

Game 1 - Friday, March 25 - Plymouth at Kitchener, 7:30pm.
Game 2 - Saturday, March 26 - Kitchener at Plymouth, 7:05pm.
Game 3 - Monday, March 28 - Plymouth at Kitchener, 7:00pm.
Game 4 - Wednesday, March 30 - Kitchener at Plymouth, 7:05pm.
Game 5 - Friday, April 1 - Plymouth at Kitchener, 7:30pm (*) if necessary.
Game 6 - Saturday, April 2 - Kitchener at Plymouth, 7:05pm (*) if necessary.
Game 7 - Monday, April 4 - Plymouth at Kitchener, 7:00pm (*) if necessary.

All Plymouth games are broadcast online on http://www.plymouthwhalers.com In ad.dition, 88.1FM WSDP The Escape will carry all games in the series except for Game 2.

• Also, per NHL.com, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, which isn’t far from Danny Cleary’s hometown of Harbour Grace, has made the top 5 list of finalists for the 2011 Kraft Hockeyville competition;

• Worth repeating, per the Detroit Free Press’s Steve Schrader:

The “Drive from the Point” award

To Nicklas Lidstrom, who—as a longtime supporter of the local hockey program—is being honored by Novi this week [on Thursday] by having the street that leads to Novi Ice Arena renamed Nick Lidstrom Drive. That’s a good thing, but isn’t it about time? I mean, Tomas Holmstrom has had an even bigger road dedicated to him in that area for eons. I-96, right?

• Finally, and perhaps appropriately, per the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson:

Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk came away with a different appreciation for Tomas Holmstrom’s method of infuriating goalies after Dubnyk stood on his head in Detroit 10 days ago.

“He won’t touch you, but he puts his stick between your legs,” Dubnyk said of the Red Wings forward. “When you push off to go across the crease to make a save, your knee hits his stick and you can’t move,” said Dubnyk.

“He doesn’t really engage you, he slides away and comes back. He looks like he’s not doing anything to you, but he is,” said Dubnyk.

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Comments

Rdwings28's avatar

Is it time to teach diving AFTER A HEAD SHOT?

Posted by Rdwings28 on 03/20/11 at 10:10 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Said Predators Coach Barry Trotz: “Everybody is digging in and finding ways.”

Yeah sure, like elbows to the head and punches to the back of the head and crosschecks and charging…  with a lot of help from seemingly blind NHL officials.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/20/11 at 12:34 PM ET

Sal's avatar

The University of Miami is in Florida.  The school in Oxford Ohio with the successful hockey program is Miami University.  BA, class of ‘91.

Posted by Sal from the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains on 03/20/11 at 12:35 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

If the Wings play the Preds in the first round of the playoffs, they’re done for. They cannot beat this team in a 7-game series, healthy or otherwise.

They’ve simply got better goaltending and defense than the Wings do, and they consistently outwork them. They’re the second scariest team in the Western Conference behind Vancouver, as far as I’m concerned.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 03/20/11 at 12:38 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Said goalie Jimmy Howard: “It was a great game, a lot of fun out there. The crowd was into it—that was a playoff game. It was well refereed, they just let us battle. It was fun. It just came down to special teams and they got one late on us.”

Really?  What game were you watching, Jimmah?

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/20/11 at 12:38 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Simpler than this George… both teams played hard, both teams had key guys out with injuries… both teams scored two goals, but only one got credited with both.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/20/11 at 01:05 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Wings’ records (in the last few games) against possible playoff opponents:

First round, NSH (1-5), DAL (2-6), LA (1-5)

Second round, SJ (2-5).

Oh damn.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/20/11 at 01:53 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Here’s an idea.  Let’s just make it illegal to screen the goaltender.  It’s already illegal for my team.  Therefore I don’t want the other 29 teams to be able to screen our goaltender with impunity.  Just outlaw it right now.  That way we’re on equal footing with the other twenty-nine teams.

Call it rule 96.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 03/20/11 at 04:07 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I’m fast losing respect for Trotz.  His handling of his team when Fischer went down on the Wings bench in ‘06 just about saves him from me going all out ballistic on his coaching.

But I’m constantly reminded that they only play like that against the Wings and then turn around and play like dogshit the next game.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 03/20/11 at 09:22 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.